I have worked at one of the call centers for just over a month. Unfortunately, I can't answer all questions because of confidentiality agreements. However, if I can legally answer I will!

Not the most definitive proof, but this at least shows I was hired. I would give better proof, but because I work at a secure facility I can't think of any other proof available. Sorry.

EDIT: I am glad you guys have so many questions. I have to go for a bit but I will try to answer these as I can!

Comments: 392 • Responses: 40  • Date: 

daddyshungry21 karma

How do I prove that I am part of a religion that prohibits medical treatment?

louismagoo7 karma

They are working on a form that allows you to declare yourself exempt, but it doesn't exist just yet. You can check in on healthcare.gov's chat in a moth or so for more info if you want.

Bilbo_Fraggins14 karma

My status has been: "Identity verification pending" "Verification under review" for weeks now. I submitted the documentation requested, how long should that take?

I'd happily do the phone verification, but the number they list asks for a pin which doesn't seem to be given by the site, and if you don't have one they hang up on you.

What do?

louismagoo9 karma

Call in to the marketplace and let them know. We usually send that issue to a specialist to resolve (although the specialists are booked right now so they may give another answer).

gigizulei14 karma

The calculator said i should receive a tax credit but when i signed up it didn't say i was eligible for tax credit. Does this mean i won't receive it? Making less than $17,000 i can't afford $200 extra a month on health insurance :/

louismagoo23 karma

When you received your eligibility notice you should have received instructions on how to appeal. You can call the marketplace number or write to the address listed in your letter (it's somewhere in Kentucky).

Num1Stunna11 karma

I have no been able to use the website, it just tells me to call in.

What is the best day/time to call?

louismagoo13 karma

I always recommend calling late at night or early in the morning. The call times are shorter and the website tends to have less traffic.

EliteGeek11 karma

Have you seen a trend of the incomes of the people who are signing up. Logic tells me that only poor people are signing up for this. I am curious to hear what wealth demographic is here.

louismagoo7 karma

I've seen all sorts, although the high income peeps tend to be older. Those with good jobs and insurance don't really need us, usually, so not many young professionals call in.

skipjim11 karma

The news media tells us how everyone hates the ACA, what has been your experience talking with people so far?

louismagoo24 karma

Honestly, most people have been pretty nice. Obviously everyone has their views, but even those who don't like the ACA generally understand that those of us at the call center are just there to help them through the application process and aren't part of the political process ourselves. One of my favorite parts of the job is helping people have a positive experience when they call in wanting to bemoan the system. I can't, as part of my job, comment on the politics of the ACA, but I usually find ways to make the process itself smoother. That goes a long way toward making people feel better about things, generally speaking.

johnson564 karma

Honestly, most people have been pretty nice. Obviously everyone has their views, but even those who don't like the ACA generally understand that those of us at the call center are just there to help them through the application process and aren't part of the political process ourselves.

Or could it be that the few people who have applied so far actually like the ACA, so they are show the most interest when applying.

There is still a vast majority of Americans who have yet to apply

edit: Just over 100,000 People have signed up so far, with only 27,000 of those being through healthcare.gov.


louismagoo1 karma

That is possible too, though there are a lot of people who just do it because they are supposed to.

superotterman10 karma

Any idea how accurate the '500 million lines of code' is for the site? It seems way over-estimated, but has some anonymous, supposedly knowledgeable source, in a New York Times article.

louismagoo7 karma

That one I have no idea on. I do know that the site wasn't built to hold more than about 60,000 users at a time, but that isn't actual insider knowledge.

MotorboatingSofaB30 karma

site wasn't built to hold more than about 60,000 users at a time

Whoever drafted the requirements isn't too smart

louismagoo12 karma


IdahoLynxx8 karma

So are you in the Boise Call center that keeps getting the Bomb threats?

louismagoo9 karma

I actually can't comment on my location, but I am sad that people feel the need to do stupid crap like making bomb threats.

protectorlord8 karma

How long does the whole process of getting healthcare through this take from start to finish?

louismagoo15 karma

Honestly it is hard to say for sure. When everything goes smoothly and there are no glitches I can do an application over the phone with someone in 15-30 minutes (depending on family size and whether an employer offers insurance). However, if the website glitches it can take an hour or more, and even then you may have to wait until traffic is low to successfully submit (which means coming back late at night or early in the morning). I have heard of people spending hours on the application, but that is only because they keep running into the same roadblock and try to get around it unsuccessfully.

protectorlord5 karma

How about after the application process. How long does it take to get approval and be covered after application submittion?

louismagoo18 karma

That question is the tricky one. Sometimes approval happens immediately (that is what the system is intended to do) and you can compare and choose insurance right after you submit your application. If that happens, the whole process takes 1-2 hours, tops. Unfortuantely, that is more the exception than the rule right now, because there are two big glitches that make so that people either 1. can't be verified (this means the website can't confirm you are you, so it won't go forward) or 2. can't apply the tax credit to monthly premiums (the website won't show you insurance prices until you do this step).

Once those glitches are fixed, it takes very little time to sign up. Sometimes it works just fine, other times the system refuses to move forward. It is getting better with all the 24/7 tech updating, but it still sucks.

TL;DR It's kind of a crapshoot.

bunnymud6 karma

Have you seen any of your co-worker encourage fraud?

louismagoo12 karma

No, and I would report the hell out of them if I did.

TJBAM6 karma

What is the general mood in the office? Are you and your coworkers optimistic about user turnout and account completions or is there a feeling of resent and remorse about how the functionality of the system is portrayed in the news?

louismagoo18 karma

I actually like that the news covers the system errors. Before, people would rage at us, but now they know we are all just doing what we can to help.

LiamtheFilmMajor2 karma

Hahahaha, that's a side of it that I wouldn't have expected. As someone who wouldn't think of just yelling at some over-the-phone assistant, I can imagine that having the actual system's faults on display really takes the (often misguided) heat off you.

Do you believe that these launch troubles are going to persist or will they be actually fixed at some point?

louismagoo4 karma

Well I can see them getting better daily, based on how often I can get callers to the "finish line." It doesn't look like it will be perfect soon, but things are definitely getting better.

YakovKonPena5 karma

I've got health insurance through my employer now.

But let's say on January 30th, my work closes and I'm laid off. I'll be scrambling to get covered through the exchange, but am I gonna get fined for not being covered after the start of the year?

louismagoo21 karma

No, you have to be without insurance for 3 months for a fine to apply.

squishykins4 karma

I tried to create an account on the first day and I received a confirmation email, but the system won't let me log in. It's giving me this error in the URL


I have tried resetting my password with no luck. I can't create a new account because it says my email address is already attached to one, and I'm not creating a second email account just for this. What can I do to figure this out?

louismagoo7 karma

They actually just created a workaround for this. You should call the marketplace or talk to someone on healthcare.gov's chat.

stayonthecloud3 karma

I pay $60/month for insurance through my employer. The calculator says that if I maintained my current income and did not have employer provided coverage, I would pay $250 for a Silver Plan. Have you responded to people in this situation, like say solo entrepreneurs? I already dropped my better PPO plan at work because the cost rose too high and am now on an HMO. I'm feeling pretty scared of ever going into business for myself now.

louismagoo3 karma

we get lots of small business owners actually. It's always been bad paying for insurance solo, but a lot of them are now paying a lot less than they used to. It's still not cheap or anything, but the ACA was actually designed to help small business owners.

ABaTraveler3 karma


louismagoo4 karma

It depends on what you see. If you ever got to the part where you sign online and it told you that it was complete, it's probably a glitch where the system doesn't recognize that the app is done (although in most cases your info is saved and you just need to resubmit later). If you can't get to the signature page, I honestly recommend calling the healthcare.gov number, where someone like me can try to work through the issue with you directly. The number is 1-800-318-2596. In fact, calling in is usually a good strategy if you are up late at night or early in the morning anyway. I work a graveyard shift, and most callers don't wait more than a minute or two to talk to me.

ABaTraveler1 karma


louismagoo4 karma

Good luck! Remember that if your application doesn't go through, a CSR can do a new application for you over the phone too.

katfight303 karma

I know that some health insurers require testing such as blood tests to complete the process, is that the norm with the ACA? I am a huge supporter of the ACA but have not been able to get through the application process yet because of the website glitches.

louismagoo4 karma

No, the only health questions they ask are whether you are pregnant if you are a woman and if you have any health conditions that limit your day to day activities (like going to work or school). No blood tests or physical checkups required as of now.

rLeJerk4 karma

"Do you use tobacco products" is a health question that is asked.

louismagoo3 karma

Oh true, sorry about that. Technically your age is a health question too.

Dkwon1003 karma

How's the job? I got an offer for being an admin intern at the General Dynamics - Vangent PHX branch but declined and am quite curious.

(Though in the interview they talked about handling Fafsa and student loans so must be a different department)

louismagoo2 karma

Yeah, this company handles a lot of government contracts. It sounds like you would work in a different area. I like it ok, although I have a law degree and want to move on as soon as I pass the bar.

Estamio23 karma

Do I have to ask for a form to refuse insurance, or will my Federal withholding automatically withdraw $350 (for 2014)?

louismagoo3 karma

Actually the fine next year is only 95 dollars (it goes up the next year though). You might qualify for an exemption in certain cases though, like if you would have to pay over 8% of your income for basic insurance, or your religious views prohibit traditional health care).

squishykins9 karma

$95 or 1% of income, whichever is higher!

louismagoo4 karma

Right, thanks for the correction. I usually have all the info in front of me when I go over things. Right now I am just typing off the cuff, so when I make stupid mistakes like that I am glad to be corrected.

ItsNotEasyBeinCheesy2 karma

I applied (didn't sign up, just applied) twice, once stating I had access to employer insurance, and once stating I did not have access to employer insurance. Why did I receive 2 different tax credits (a $200 difference in favor of not having access to employer insurance) and why do the plans offered vary so much (significantly better plan options without access to employer insurance compared to having access)?

louismagoo2 karma

Generally speaking, the market prefers to allow people to stay on employers' plans if possible, as long as they are affordable and cover basic services. I am not sure how the calculator works, but I wouldn't be surprised if having employer coverage could affect the calculation in some way.

philly2shoes2 karma

How do you feel about freedom of choice?

louismagoo8 karma

Honestly, I believe that the ACA is the worst of all worlds. I'm generally a proponent of free markets, but in health coverage there is a dearth of knowledge among consumers, leading to inefficient markets (I was an Econ. major before going to law school, and I wrote a lot of papers on this subject). Even though I think it's unfair to force people to buy coverage, I believe in a public option (which does not yet exist in the U.S.).

For what it is worth, I disagree with the Supreme Court's assertion that the ACA is viable under the tax-and-spend power. A public option would be, though, and (personally) I believe it is the long-term evolution of our nation's medical practices.

GoldReaper2 karma

Is this just a job for you, or do you actually support the ACA? Just curious.

louismagoo2 karma

It's funny, I'm still undecided as a person regarding the ACA. What I can tell you is that I love helping people and this job is enormously satisfying in that regard. Sorry to sidestep the real question, but I guess I am in the "wait and see" camp for now.

kittenpunched2 karma

Are you secretly hoping that the law is really awful and hard to understand so that you will have job security?

louismagoo8 karma

Haha, that isn't how I was raised. I would love nothing more than for the world to be worry free, and besides I will be quitting at the end of the year. Generally speaking, though, I think that it is unfortunate how often things are made to be complicated so that one group of people can gain an advantage (complex legal rules in the banking system comes to mind as an example).

immnamna12 karma

I have spent most of my adult life (about 15 years) helping non-techy people use their companies technology.

So, I was asked recently by an older friend of mine to help her sign up and see what her options were. I told her I will get back to her in a week or so after I sign up. I ran into what some people are describing below where it cannot finish my verification and repeated attempts to finish all failed. I called the help line and thru the conversation with the rep, I think I figured out one factor that could really help.

The rep asked me for my SS# so that she could find my application. I told her that I did not enter it because it is marked 'optional', but I have my application number. She said that she could not look up my app based on that number and recommended that I try again later.

Instead, I restarted the process using a different email address and this time I treated ALL fields as mandatory. When I entered my SS#, I started getting standard ID verification questions like you would get if you were applying for credit (Did I ever live at any of the below, Which company services my student loans,etc..) and knew I was on a better path.

I got to the end and it said I was verified, then moved me along to the part where you start reviewing policies, but gave a message 'Not verified". I backed up to the beginning of the registration process and 'most' of the fields were prefilled, but it some I had to re-enter. As soon as I finished my second run thru, it all worked and I now can see my options.

My assumptions based on those results:

  1. Take down the damn 'optional' tags on the SS#. It's not optional.
  2. There is a lag in final verification processing that is longer than it takes to transfer you to the part where you start looking at policies.

I think if you could get it up the chain to at least remove those stupid 'optional' tags, you would be doing a great service.

Good luck!

louismagoo2 karma

This is a really good comment, and I agree. I will pass along the suggestion and see if we can fix the system in that regard!

squishykins1 karma

Another question, can I sign up for an exchange plan for a limited amount of time? For example, I just started a new job and won't be eligible for group insurance until March. Can I enroll in a plan for 2 months and drop it when my employer coverage starts?

louismagoo4 karma

Yes, but you wouldn't be able to re-enroll until 2015 unless a "qualifying event" occurred. Of course, losing your job is such an event, so either way you should be fine.

BobSlydelsTongue-22 karma

You are part of the problem, not the solution nor are you an innocent. You are a succubus / incubus on the US taxpayer; quit your job and get a job which creates value.

louismagoo8 karma

Actually I have worked in a variety of industries that "create value," and I find this work far more rewarding than a lot of the work I have done (including putting together multi-million dollar mergers at a law firm).