The Mistakes

Now that the enrollment period is closed it is probably a good time to start looking back at the mistakes made. Since is attempting to act like a private business it is fair to use compare their practices to those of existing businesses. As a prospective customer and IT guy I have to say I was dismayed on many different levels. Here are some of my complaints.

  1. Better Project Planning and Execution
    1. The website planning, execution, and testing was a total disaster. It took me a couple of weeks before the front end was fixed enough to allow me to log in.
    2. They should have finished testing the easy part, the front end, at least 90 days prior to the roll out. I first used in 2010. There is nothing new or novel about the front end. There was no excuse for the front end not to be ready on October 1st.
    3. The application process was unnecessarily complicated. They should have copied the code and work flow where appropriate from some else’s web site such as or
    4. Maybe they should have delegated income verification to the insurance companies.
    5. The site and back end specifications should have been locked down 90 to 180 days in advance of the roll out.
    6. The backend should have been tested by the time the web site went online.
    7. Management reports should have been available on October 1st.
    8. They should have enlisted and the others to sell subsidized health insurance on October 1st for redundancy.
  2. Better Customer Marketing
    1. They should have been honest about the benefits and drawbacks of the new health insurance plans compared to the old plans.
      1. They should have enlisted someone to do a non-partisan price and product comparison with last year’s insurance products. Most of the comparisons I read sounded more like political propaganda rather than Consumer Reports. I ended doing my own comparison and as a result was not happy. Now they are stuck trying to sell to a customer who is not happy and doesn’t trust you. Good luck with that strategy!
      2. They should have used a proactive approach towards explaining the drawbacks of narrow market insurance plans and how it affects doctor choice. This should not have been something we stumble upon after the web site is up and running.
      3. We should have been talking about high or increased deductibles before October 1st.
      4. They should have used a “go slow” approach towards canceling existing heath insurance plans. If they are willing to grandfather my current health insurance plan for another two years, they should have said this in October 2013.
    2. The website should have proudly demonstrated how respects the customer’s privacy and security concerns. The did almost nothing to alleviate customer security concerns. It was as if they did not care.
    3. The Administration’s marketing plan was questionable at best.
      1. It is very hard to build customer interest and satisfaction with the Affordable Care Act when a significantly large group of people are mad that they are being ripped off. You have to wonder about marketing strategy when an integral part of the plan appears to be to ignore those customers.
      2. I will reserve my judgment on the success of the Between the Ferns and other youth oriented marketing until we see how many young customers are still paying their health insurance premium six months down the road.
      3. Over the last 11 days I received at least eight emails very similar to the email above but with different subject lines. Since my existing health insurance is grandfathered I chose to ignore the emails but the tone sounded more like nagging rather than trying to be helpful. Sending nagging emails once a day was not helpful and I suspect that some people clicked the spam button to get rid of them. As a person familiar with email marketing this is a major faux pas.