#Obamacare exchange design priorities: insurance is nice, but your SSN is ESSENTIAL.

This passage from the latest round of Dear God, but these Obamacare exchanges are horribly designed articles leaped out at me:

It appears that a major reason why the federal exchange has borne the brunt of the problems is that the website asks you to set up an account, inclusive of your Social Security number, before shopping for prices on the exchange. This is in sharp contrast to the site sponsored by eHealthInsurance.com, that allows anonymous users to look at plans and prices. Verifying these accounts has bogged down the login process.

Keep track of this particular problem, because I suspect that it will not be solved by imitating eHealthInsurance’s design architecture.  The government will instead do its level best to make the existing login process less onerous… because they want to be able to associate a Social Security number to every account that’s been set up for Obamacare.  And they certainly do not want anybody who isn’t an account holder to see the prices; anonymous users would take one look at the hikes and stay anonymous*.  But if you’re in the system, then they can target you.  And you may use that verb any way that you like, too.

Really, in many ways Obamacare is the ultimate data mining system, masquerading as a government health care program.  It’s hard to tell largely because the administration somehow managed to screw up both sides of that equation, which takes real skill…

Via… sorry, not sure.  The story’s going around.

Moe Lane (crosspost)

[UPDATE] As I hit post on this I got sent a link to this Americablog post where John Aravosis – while fulminating about just how awful the federal exchanges are – comes so heart-breakingly close to figuring out the score:

If I didn’t know better, I’d say this site feels like an effort in list-building – i.e., they want to collect as much information as possible about everyone who visits, even if they’re not buying anything, in order to create a huge database for who knows what reason.

…which is, of course, exactly what is happening. Ach, well, nobody ever said that every liberal mugged by reality ends up becoming a conservative.

PS: I’m not a government-conspiracy kind of guy, but I don’t think that it’s really smart to put your personal information into this particular database.

*If it is cheaper to get a non-exchange policy and eat the Obamacare tax than it would be to get an exchange policy, people will do the former.  The government’s problem is that the Obamacare tax is too low to be a deterrent, and because it is a tax the Obama administration cannot simply raise the rates**.

**Attempting to hike taxes without the approval of Congress won’t so much trigger an impeachment as it would be prima facie evidence that the government will need to invoke the 25th Amendment, posthaste.

9 thoughts on “#Obamacare exchange design priorities: insurance is nice, but your SSN is ESSENTIAL.”

  1. Yeah, I was curious to see how bad the quoted price was going to be, but when I saw all the information they wanted from me, I did my best Snagglepus impression.

  2. I decline to give them any additional information.
    I’ve already been told how much my rate for my corporate-provided theoretically-I-can-keep-it plan is climbing and .. it’s .. tolerable.
    Tolerable, in this case, means “less expensive vacation, more chicken and less beef, more beans and less meat” …

  3. If I was a more malicious person, I’d find out Barack Obama’s social security number and recommend to everyone out there that they give that number when looking up stuff on that site.

    1. Why not just put in a number? It isn’t as if SSNs have check digits.

      Oh, wait, it is a felony to access a computer system under false pretenses AIU the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. So be careful to type everything very carefully, well, unless you use TOR.

  4. Actually I was just in a position where I noticed how many faked ss#’s were floating around. They are being used for foreign exchange students who have no ssn to be able to make a purchase in a system and set up an account. Let me just point out that faking an ssn happens a lot more than people realize. There are even clues to recognize them such as 111-11-1111. If the last four digits are the same it’s probably fake. Everything in your ssn has a meaning the first two digits of the last four in yours should indicate your birth year.

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