The Corner

Here’s How Well Obamacare’s Customer-Service Live Chat Works

John Dickerson of Slate recently reported on a woman from Pennsylvania who has (unsuccessfully) attempted to sign up for coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

After logging on when the exchanges began at 8 a.m. on October 1, she immediately ran into problems. The site failed to record her information correctly and she could not alter the incorrect information it’d recorded, so “Alice” went to the website’s customer-service online chat. Here’s what happened:

[4:09:56 pm]: Thanks for contacting Health Insurance Marketplace Live Chat. Please wait while we connect you to someone who can help.

[4:09:59 pm]: Please be patient while we’re helping other people.

[4:10:30 pm]: Please be patient while we’re helping other people.

[4:11:00 pm]: Please be patient while we’re helping other people.

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[4:25:46 pm]: Please be patient while we’re helping other people.

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[4:29:50 pm]: Please be patient while we’re helping other people.

[4:30:27 pm]: Welcome! You’re now connected to Health Insurance Marketplace Live Chat.

Thanks for contacting us. My name is PGSTX0534. To protect your privacy, please don’t provide any personal information, like Social Security Number, or any other sensitive medical or personal information.

[4:30:51 pm]: PGSTX0534

Hello, how may I help you today?

[4:31:12 pm]: Alice

My information is not recording correctly in the summary of my application

[4:31:35 pm]: Alice

I have tried to edit it multiple times and it is still wrong

[4:32:21 pm]: PGSTX0534

Thanks for your interest in the Health Insurance Marketplace. We have a lot of visitors trying to use our website right now. That is causing some glitches for some people trying to create accounts or log in. Keep trying, and thanks for your patience. We’ll continue working to improve the site so you can get covered

[4:32:40 pm]: Alice

what does that mean?

[4:32:52 pm]: Alice

It says my application is “in Progress”

[4:33:12 pm]: Alice

Does that mean it is not completed and I can continue to try to edit it?

[4:33:55 pm]: Alice

Hello??

[4:34:14 pm]: PGSTX0534

Thank you. One moment please while I look that up.

[4:36:19 pm]: PGSTX0534

The only way we can see your application is you will have to call The Health Insurance Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596. We are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to assist you.

[4:36:47 pm]: Alice

What does the Chat Service do then?

She never received a response to her last question

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