Originally published December 17 2013
Obamacare exchange site caught automatically debiting citizens' bank accounts
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) If a corporation rolled out a new web-based service like the federal and state governments have rolled out Obamacare exchanges in such an "epic fail" manner, they would be lucky if they stayed in business a week. But because the Affordable Care Act's online exchanges are government projects, we are stuck with them - no matter how flawed and deceitful they are.
One of the ongoing complaints about the still-uncompleted exchanges is that there is no way of knowing whether or not enrollees on the sites actually have health insurance when they complete the process, because no one knows if any money is actually being exchanged and, if so, where it's going.
Well, the state exchange in Washington has added a new wrinkle to the problem. According to local reports, for the second week in a row now, the Washington Healthplanfinder website has crashed and, in doing so, has created problems for people who have been dealing with billing issues.
'It's important this kind of stuff doesn't happen'
In particular, "some of them say the website is mistakenly debiting their accounts," reports Washington's KING:
Shannon Bruner of Indianola logged on to her checking account [recently], and found she was almost 800 dollars in the negative.
"The first thing I thought was, 'I got screwed,'" she said.
The Bruners, KING reported, enrolled for insurance through the website in October, shortly after the disastrous federal Obamacare online exchange roll-out. They told the TV station that they selected Dec. 24 as the bill-pay date. Instead, the Washington Healthplanfinder site drafted the $835 premium on Dec. 9.
According to KING:
Josh Bruner started his own business this year as an engineering recruiter. They said it's forced them to pay a lot of attention to their bills and their bank accounts.
"Big knot in my gut because we're trying to keep it together," said Shannon Bruner. "It's important to me that this kind of stuff doesn't happen."
The Bruners are not an isolated case.
As reported by KING, one viewer who emailed the station said, "They drafted my account this morning for a second time."
And on the station's Facebook page, another woman commented about a similar problem.
"We are all in the same boat," she wrote.
"We've got to figure out how to get money to pay the bills for the next week or two until we have another check come through," said Josh Bruner. "It's just crazy."
The health exchange in Washington emailed the Bruners recently to tell them to log in to view their invoice, but it's not something they have been able to do - since the website is down (again).
Worse, the couple also hasn't been able to get through on the website's help line, either. They were finally able to contact Healthplanfinder administrators by posting a message on their Facebook page.
Next up: Forcing insurers to cover - at a loss
Washington Healthplanfinder told KING that their staff is looking into the problem. Naturally.
But until their problem is resolved, the Bruners are just trying to stay as positive as possible - because what else can they do?
"We haven't bought anyone's Christmas gifts yet," said Shannon Bruner. "We're just kind of waiting."
"We wrote a check to our nanny last week, it isn't going to work," said Josh Bruner. "So she can't get paid."
As far as Obamacare in general goes, the administration made a decision this week that violates any semblance of legality, according to Forbes' Avik Roy:
Of all of the last-minute delays, website bungles, and Presidential whims that have marred the roll-out of Obamacare's subsidized insurance exchanges, what happened on Thursday, December 12 will stand as one of the most lawless acts yet committed by this administration. The White House - having canceled Americans' old health plans, and having botched the system for enrolling people in new ones - knows that millions of Americans will enter the new year without health coverage. So instead of actually fixing the problem, the administration is retroactively attempting to force insurers to hand out free health care - at a loss - to those whom the White House has rendered uninsured. If Obamacare wasn't a government takeover of the health insurance industry, then what is it now?
Why is this happening? Because Congress and the president think they know best how to "manage" your healthcare.
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