by SCOTT SCHABLOW
So far, my experience with The Affordable Care Act provides me with ZERO confidence that any part of it will ever produce anything other than chaos. I am hereby renaming the plan ObamaScare, because frankly it frightens the hell out of me. Friends tell me stories about premiums rising 1000%, A friend called the Alabama Insurance Department and the spokesperson there said the average Alabamian may see a 300% increase in premiums. That is IF ANYONE EVER GETS TO COMPLETE THE PROCESS! I spent a couple hours filling out the online application. The section before the identity verification kept losing my information each time I logged off, even after repeated saves. Each time I logged back in I had to re-enter the same information. This game I repeated SIX TIMES at about 30 minutes each. I FINALLY got to the end of the section and I was ready to embark on the ID verification process and present the submitted application tfor verification.
But wait, after I submitted the information for the ID verification process I got an error saying that my ID could not be verified online. I needed to call the Healthcare Marketplace. Where is this cool sounding marketplace? Near the Wharf in SanFran? Or maybe PepperPlace in B'ham? Nope it's nowheresville. I place the call. After waiting on hold a short while I heard, "Hello this is the hellfiredamgeplace whatdjks;aieh kdsljf". Assuming that the inaudible mumbling I just heard actually confirmed I had called the correct place, I proceeded with, "Yes, hello, I am trying to fill out my application at Healtcare.gov (I really wanted to say I'm battling ObamaScare Gallactica!) and I got to the part where I need to verify my identity and I got an error saying to call this number."
She says "OK." Silence. . . more silence. . . not a word. Me: "Hello, is anyone there?' She: "yes." Then more silence, but this time I can hear someone in the background whispering, "Ask him mumble mumble blah blah." More silence (even the mysterious whispers have stopped). Then, like someone jumping out of a closet in front of an unsuspecting kid feeling this way through a dark hallway, "SIR, WHAT CAN I HELP YOU WITH?" Well by now I'm thinking, you can get me one of those portable de-fib units they have at public spaces - and set that phaser to stun 'cause you just gave me a heart attack! I recomposed myself and essentially repeat the same, "the web site told me to call you" blurb. Then I added is this the right number?" She assures me it is and that some other people have had trouble in that spot." BINGO, SCORE WE HAVE A WINNER, she knows what I'm talking about! Smooth sailing ahead! I wait with great anticipation for forthcoming wisdom; an action plan to set this thing into motion!
She says, "Umm, just a minute" and puts me on hold. Tick tock, tick tock. Another blanket of silence has covered this corpse of a customer service call. And this has officially, at this very second, shredded my hope of ever seeing my family alive again. Oh, sorry, It just felt that way. She returns again, this time at a normal volume level and the mumbling is understandable. But it's not exactly professional, or semi-professional or even business casual. It's an insulting combination of slang phrases and one word sentences that has no place in an private office conversation, much less in a customer service center. Things like "do wut," uh-huh, gonna, naw, nuttin', ain't and more. Aside from the slacker talk, the bottom line is the system wouldn't work for me, nobody could fix it, tell me why or what's wrong or anything. Oh, except I needed to write down my name, address, telephone number, and MAIL it with a copy of my driver's license, social security card, a lock of my hair, a DNA swab, a urine sample, fingerprints, a retinal scan, a psychological evaluation and my Facebook password. I asked her if she could just get a copy of the stuff she's needin' from the NSA, because they've been following me for years. Silence. Me: "I'm just kidding, I'll send the stuff, gimme the address. " She does and proceeds to tell me it would take 3 to 8 weeks to get verified. I'm no math whiz but I know there is not 8 weeks left in the year. "Ma'am, if it takes 8 weeks, what am I supposed to do for health insurance in the meantime. She: "I dunno" I hang up, resolved to find a real solution.
Today a friend tells me the new web site actually works. But she also says that I better get back in there quick because she had to start over. I login tonight and the application resumes on STEP NUMBER ONE. All the information I have entered again and again is gone. Along with it is a popup message saying that I need to remove, delete and destroy the old application and start all over again. Lucky number seven, right? Well tonight, I aint' doin' nuttin' like 'at. Gonna chill away from ObamaScare and dream of a better time.
Scott Schablow is a long time friend. He is the Director of Digital Marketing & Social Media for The Hip Brand Group in Birmingham, Alabama. This essay originally appeared on Scott's Facebook page and is reprinted here with his permission.