I should have known better. I did know better. And yet, when I went to switch healthcare providers on the Obamacare website, I actually thought to myself, "any provider is bound to be better than the HMO I had this past year."
So, a couple days after signing up for the cheapest plan that wasn't totally useless (which I still can't afford, but that's another rant entirely), I get an e-mail:
Thank you for choosing [Redacted] Insurance! Please note that before your benefits can take effect, you must complete your premium payment.
To view your bill, login to your account on our secure system. If you do not already have an online account, simply click the "Register" link at the top of the home page and follow the steps. Once you are registered and login you will be able to view your bill, make your payment, and even set up ongoing withdrawals.
...so I go to the website. There is no "Register" link at the top of the home page. There is, however, a "Sign Up" link. At least it's a synonym.
After choosing a username and password, I need to link my account with the registration made with the ACA system. To do this, I am to enter my Social Security number and my ZIP code. I do this. I get an error. I am told that either I did something wrong, or the ACA information hasn't yet made it to them. This seems odd, in light of the fact that they've e-mailed me, but I decide to wait and see if it works the next day.
The day after, it still doesn't, and I call them on the phone. Would you like to guess why the site won't accept my input? Go ahead and guess. (You will never guess.)
It turns out that the reason why the site won't accept my input is that when the website says "ZIP code," it means all nine digits of the ZIP+4.
I don't actually know my ZIP+4, but the woman at the call center—having been convinced of my bona fides—helpfully provides it for me. I then discover that if you put a hyphen in the ZIP+4, you get the same generic error message as before. Only if you somehow intuit that the site wants nine digits and only nine digits will the website let you in.
Then on to paying the bill for January, which—among other things—requires that you scroll up to see how much the bill is, and then scroll down to the relevant box so you can type it in again.
This bodes really well, is all I'm saying.
Music Advent: 1989. Well, this one is obvious.
I mean, you can't deny that it's from 1989.
Okay. Fine. The Bangles, then, with "Eternal Flame."