Doug Normington is 58, self-employed, and has diabetes.
Courtesy of Doug Normington
Enrollment is picking up in new health insurance marketplaces. But the 365,000 who’ve signed up as of November 30 is a fraction of just one high-visibility group – those whose previous insurance has been cancelled because it didn’t meet Affordable Care Act standards.
They’re people like Doug Normington, a 58-year-old self-employed videographer in Madison, Wis., who has struggled to buy new insurance since late October.
“Getting the cancellation letter made me feel kind of nervous because my insurance runs out on December 31,” Normington said when I first talk to him on November 1. “I go on the HealthCare.gov website and spin my wheels for a couple of days and it’s just not working.”
Since Normington has diabetes, maintaining coverage is especially important to him.
But like millions of others, Normington ran into a dead end again and again on the federal exchange website. He agreed to let me follow along with his attempts over the phone.
“OK, so I’m at the ‘Get Insurance’ page now,” he says in mid-November, “and I’m going to click … ‘view eligibility results.’ And I hit the same wall here. I get a PDF file that I can’t read.”
The same thing has been happening to him for weeks. So he calls the 800 number on the HealthCare.gov site and gets a woman who says he should make sure he’s installed the latest version of Adobe Reader and is using Google Chrome.
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