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Navigating the Obamacare Marketplace Labyrinth

Having followed the debate over the Affordable Care Act fairly closely over the last few years, I was curious about the insurance plans being offered under the federal exchange in Ohio. Actual hard numbers have been hard to come by; it seems like they've been a more closely guarded secret than the codes to launch the nation's nuclear warheads. I tried to log on to the site on October 1st, the day the "Marketplace" launched, but after several unsuccessful attempts, I gave up. Today I decided to try again.

I went to www.healthcare.gov and chose "Ohio" from the drop-down menu. Just like visiting a government agency in person, I found that I would be required to wait in line -- albeit a virtual line. Take a virtual number.



After about 30 minutes, I finally made my way to the front of the line. My number was called and I was invited to create an account -- a user name and password. The instructions said that the user name and password were case sensitive. I followed the instructions and checked my email for the link to authenticate the new account and then tried to sign in. The system did not recognize my user name and password. I knew they were correct because I had copied and pasted them into my clipboard so I'd have them handy. I tried a couple more times, but each time I was greeted by a message saying that the information I had entered was invalid.


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