Covered California, the Obamacare insurance marketplace in the Golden State, has a one-star review on Yelp, the ratings site which allows individuals to post reviews of local businesses.
The Yelp page for Covered California currently has 208 reviews, 191 of which give it one out of a possible five stars. Only six reviews give the exchange a very positive review of four or five stars. Some of the negative reviews seem to come from people with a generalized opposition to Obamacare. However, many are personal stories by people who have tried to buy insurance and found it difficult.
Laura N. from San Diego writes:
Nightmare!!!!! I have been dealing with trying to straighten out this situation for months. I call once a week, go through long wait times to then be put on hold. I have been cancelled but still have to pay for payments on insurance I don’t even have even after I update information and each phone call they tell me it’s all taken care of. … Each time I talk to someone after waiting forever and on hold they tell me it’s all taken care of and then it’s never done and they have no records of my last calls only that I called for general information. I’m so frustrated and now I owe thousands of dollars and I’ve never seen one doctor.
Kris A. from Encinitas calls Covered CA a “chaotic wasteful mess”:
I have never in my life, so far, experienced this degree of disorganization, ineptitude, and inefficiency. …The fact that we cannot discuss this issue with anyone that can actually fix it is infuriating. All we can do is send letters. It is so ridiculous how much time, energy and money has been wasted in this system. … I hope this new system is changed quickly or gotten rid of completely. Sadly I supported health care reform but reforming something into a chaotic wasteful mess of bureaucracy is not a solution.
Brandon B. from Huntington Beach lost his insurance and says Covered CA is worse than the DMV:
We have spent at least 16 hours on the phone and on hold with reps and supervisors promising they would fix the issue and the billing, but they don’t and they never call back when they say they will. … This is 100 times worse than the DMV, I feel like I’m going insane, we have a baby in the NICU and this has caused my wife untold stress and time and we aren’t even to finish line yet, we may now not even have coverage.
Meesh B. from San Diego was unable to cancel her insurance and said, “I received another bill in November and again in December. After endless hours of hold times I was told that they had ‘no record of my requests to cancel coverage.’ What a surprise. … Shame on you Covered CA!”
Cal Berkeley grad Knot S. had a message for President Obama: “Good idea that has gone HORRIBLY, HORRIBLY, HORRIBLY wrong. … Obama you are alienating those who supported you. Come on I/we deserve better than this.”
Vi C in Huntington Beach has a long story about trying (and failing) to cancel her insurance. She writes in part:
I filed an appeal with covered california- kept a list of notes and reference numbers, dates and exact times i spoke with everyone since Nov. (thank god) i got an email from someone named Matt Forster stating he was handling my appeal and that it had been cancelled. No phone call, no number on his email signature… I called blue shield with a reference number he gave me only to be told the reference number did not exist or go to anything and the never received cancellation. They DID however receive a renewal for a f*****g new policy!!! … 4 months later and i now have 2 insurance policies with blue shield, been sent to collections, received no phone call from covered ca, have non existing appeals rep, and somehow a simple task is taking over my life.
Krista N. from Oakland is so frustrated she has become somewhat sarcastic:
It seems that even the most mundane of tasks is too difficult for the Covered California rep with whom I’m still on hold. He simply cannot find any way to resolve the issue of moving my health insurance start date from October 1, 2014 to November 1, 2014 — a request that was made initially 6 months ago (and repeatedly throughout the intervening months). … It occurs to me, however, as I listen to this synthesized on-hold music on loop for the 73rd time today, that I was foolish to expect a solution to such a complex request. How could anyone expect their normal, human-sized brains to conquer a task of this magnitude? Oh, it is a problem for Einstein or Socrates or Schopenhauer, not for the likes of Covered California!
Jorge from Long Beach is frustrated with the call center:
Negative five stars. Just today I got hung up on twice, with a grand total of 90 minutes waiting time. I wish they would at least hang up on me right away instead of having me wait. Seriously, how long does it take to simply hang up on everyone without even saying anything?
Kelly W. in Brentwood writes:
They have changed the plan that I signed up for, and now it is essentially the same cost but we have $6,000.00 deductibles for each person before the insurance that I am paying $1122.00 a month for pays a dime. … When I first saw it, I thought the deductibles were for catastrophic events. … If one of us ended up needed surgery or cancer treatments or something horrible. … Nope. Man, would I love to be on a commercial talking about how effing horrible this insurance is.
Typhone in Woodland Hills is upset enough to want to see a Republican in the White House, stating, “EVERYTHING ABOUT COVERED CALIFORNIA IS THE WORST!!!!!! … I am a Democrat … and I never thought I would say this. But I hope a Republican takes office and does away with this.”
V W from Palm Springs writes:
I am all in support of the Affordable Care Act. Covered CA is a nice idea but the infrastructure needed to actually provide services to everyone that needs it was not well planned out. Covered CA is INCOMPETENT. Nice and caring people on the phone if you can stand the hour hold times. … Then they can’t help you. …. SUCKS.
Dozens and dozens more stories like these exist. Many of the reviewers say they only wish they could give zero stars instead of one. And the problems with the website and the call center have been ongoing for over a year now. Breitbart News reported last September that nearly two-thirds of callers to the Covered CA call center were simply hanging up. Add to this that Covered CA enrollment, which was praised in 2014, seems to have stalled in 2015, and you have a system that does not seem to be living up to many people’s expectations.