Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Adventures with the ACA, My Conclusion

I'm DONE!  My new medical insurance ID cards and welcome packet arrived in the mail last Saturday.  My coverage begins on January 1, 2014.  On a monthly basis, I'll be saving about $400 on my premium compared with my former insurance.  On a yearly basis, I'll save nearly $5000 next year.  How did I do it? 

When last I wrote about working with the ACA and MNSure -- here -- I had just met with my insurance agent and was ready to move forward with the process.  My next step was to finish the application for tax credits which went without a hitch.  The MNSure website, however, gave me conflicting information about it.  On one page under my account, it told me the application had been approved.  On my home page, it told me it had been "disposed" and I'd be notified when it had been approved.  This confusion caused me to wait a full week.  In hindsight, I realize that I could have moved forward the same day.  This is one issue I had with the website.

After figuring out that my application had been approved, I began the enrollment process.  The MNSure website was not very helpful about the steps involved.  I groped through it.  First, I chose the plan I wanted.  From there, it was a matter of clicking on the "enroll" button.  All of my information that I'd submitted to the website would be forwarded to the insurance company once I'd paid the January premium.  My insurance agent had advised me to pay online, not request a paper invoice.  This would speed up the process for the insurance company.  So, I submitted my January premium payment through MNSure online.  There was no confirmation for the enrollment, but there was for the payment.

Six days later, I received a paper invoice.  Confused, I returned to the website to see what was up.  Under my account pages, the enrollment page was empty where it should show that I'd enrolled in a specific plan with a specific company.  The payment page was also empty.  This concerned me.  So, I went to my bank to see if they'd paid out the premium payment.  They had.  OK.  So why did I get a paper invoice?

I called MNSure customer service.  The computer informed me that the wait time for service would be over an hour and to call back during the non-peak hours of 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.  So, I waited until 6:30 p.m.  The computer informed me again that the wait time was still over an hour.  I put my phone on speaker and waited, working on the computer.  I figured whoever came on the line would have had a truly rough and stressful day, and he or she didn't need more from me.  So when a woman came on the line 64 minutes later, I was nice but all business.  She sounded tired and on the edge.  Regarding the paper invoice, she told me if I'd received confirmation of payment to ignore the invoice.  She didn't know why I'd received one.  Regarding the empty enrollment and payment pages in my account, she told me that it was "a known issue" and she wouldn't be able to check on the enrollment for me because that "portal is down."  She told me that if I didn't receive my new ID cards and materials from the insurance company by 12/23 to call back. 

By last Thursday, 12/19, I was beginning to get nervous.  It had been two weeks since I'd enrolled and paid my premium and I'd heard nothing.  So, rather than call MNSure again, I decided to see if the insurance company knew anything.  I visited their website and found the customer service contact information.  Then I sent them an e-mail asking if they had my enrollment.  They replied the next day with an affirmative that included my ID number and assurance that my welcome packet had been mailed.  It arrived the next day.

My next step will be to inform my medical providers and pharmacy of my new insurance.  I feel lucky that my process has been relatively smooth and that MNSure worked the way it's supposed to for me despite obvious and confusing website issues.  I think it helped me to stay calm, to have a helpful insurance agent, and to be patient (sort of)....

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