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MLA Full: "Applying for Health Insurance: Then and Now." YouTube, uploaded by vlogbrothers, 8 October 2013,
MLA Inline: (vlogbrothers, 2013)
APA Full: vlogbrothers. (2013, October 8). Applying for Health Insurance: Then and Now [Video]. YouTube.
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Chicago Full: vlogbrothers, "Applying for Health Insurance: Then and Now.", October 8, 2013, YouTube, 06:05,
In which John Green attempts to apply for new health insurance coverage using the Affordable Care Act's insurance exchanges and then through a private insurer that existed before the ACA (aka Obamacare) went into effect.

It's of course too soon to tell which of these options will be cheaper, which will offer the best coverage, and so on, but I wanted to explore how the (still very glitchy) exchanges compare to the pre-ACA experience of trying to get approved for coverage.

Yes, I realize this video is over 4 minutes. I think it meets the definition of an educational video, but I'll leave it up to y'all to discuss in Our Pants:
Good Morning Hank it's Tuesday and today I'm going to apply for health insurance twice. First using the exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act and second, using the private insurance options that existed before the Affordable Care Act, which by the way still exist. Alright, let's get right to it. 

Okay so first we're gonna go through the new Healthcare Exchanges. It is currently 1:11pm - I am going to Google "I need to sign up for ObamaCare." Bam - took me right there.

Okay, my first name is John - create account - dunduhduhduuuuuuh! Its saying please wait. Its still saying please wait. I'm just going to go to Tumblr for a while. Sign up unsuccessful. Dang it.

Alright, I'm going to try again. First name is John; my last name is Green; I live in Indiana; I do have an email address - thank you for asking. Alright I'm back to the 'Please Wait' screen. Big money, no whammys. Sign up unsuccessful, well this is not going well at all.

I'm going to keep trying because that is my commitment. My name is John; my last name is Green; I live in Indiana; I do have an email address. It's now 1:16pm - I'm five minutes into my "Applying for ObamaCare" experience. So far, I'm going to say a little underwhelming. 

Do I know my first name? I mean at this point I almost have it memorized. Okay. My account could not be created this time because the system is unavailable. I'm a little bit frustrated - maybe I'll call for some room service?

On Phone: No, no, no I don't like mayonnaise. No mayo. Yeah! Urm, yeah do you have like Diet Pepsi? Perfect. 

(Mouths to Camera) It worked, it worked

On Phone: Bye.

Ahahahahah. I have an account. I gotta go to my email address to sign up for it though. Now it says 'Get Insurance' John, what would you like to do? Apply for new coverage? Yes.

Okay, my date of birth? Yes, I know that. Oh, and then I have to tell you about the next person, that's my wife. The third person is my kid, his name is Henry. He's very cute. Person four of four, that would be my new baby. Suddenly it's pretty easy - it's all questions I know how to answer.

Alright now I'm going to sign and submit. No one applying for health coverage on this application is currently incarcerated. Agree - unless Henry has done something in the last couple of minutes.

Okay Hank, quick update. It is now 2pm, so I am 49 minutes into my Affordable Care Act application. I have now uploaded a photograph of my Drivers License so they can verify my identity so then I can go in and decide which kind of insurance I want.

I will now attempt to get to the same place with the private insurance that existed before the Affordable Care Act. I have that application right here, let's get started. My name - it just so happens that I know that. I am married. Here's my social security number.

Okay, Hank I just got to the really scary part of this application where it says "Incorrect or incomplete information on this application may result in avoidance of coverage or claim denial." So I need to be really, I guess, honest about all the questions.

Has the applicant, while operating a motor vehicle, been involved in an accident or received a moving violation? If yes, provide details in medical history details. Because of course, that time I rolled through a stop sign is part of my medical history. Rolled through stop sign. Got ticket. Felt shame. 

Is any family member pregnant or an expectant mother or father? I hope not!

In the last five years has any applicant been diagnosed as having elevated cholesterol, diabetes or sugar in the blood, stroke, mental, emotional or behavioral disorder? Oh, I was on a good roll until you go to mental, emotional or behavioral disorder.

In the last five years, has any applicant had any indications, signs or symptoms of any disease, disorder, injury or adverse finding? I mean yes.

Is any applicant currently or in the last five years, used alcoholic beverages in excess of 14 drinks per week. Yes, during the week of the Indianapolis 500. Yes. Definitely.

This application is like fully 25 pages long and the language in it makes my head hurt. Argh, this is taking forever, I have to.. Hank, every three seconds I have to look up the phone number of a different doctor... This sucks.

In the last ten years has any applicant been hospital confined? Yes, orbital cellulitis, plus my wife was hospital confined when she had the babies. Had surgery? Yes. I had my gallbladder out. Or discussed surgery? Mentioned it in conversation?

So basically, you have to write down every time you or someone in your family has been to the doctor in the last 10 years. Every time you got a medical test and if the results were not normal what the results were, so that's what I've been doing for the last 2 hours. 

Okay Hank, it is now 4:13pm. I think that I have finished my medical history details and there's all this really complicated stuff I don't understand about information practices. But anyway, I'm not going to read it, I'm just going to consider it finished at 2 hours and 16 minutes.

So to summarize Hank, in neither case did I actually get insurance. However, even with all the server errors, it was more than twice as fast to apply under the Affordable Care Act Private Exchanges than it was to apply in the old way. And it's also much less confusing and intrusive. Like in the old way I had to list every single time I went to the doctor and in the new way, they didn't ask me anything except whether I smoked.

Its not really fair to compare the experience of buying health insurance on these new exchanges to the experience of buying a surprisingly affordable poster at The only real analogue was what it was like to buy insurance before and as far as I can tell, it has gotten dramatically better—even though the government could stand to buy some new servers. 

So Hank I hope you enjoyed my afternoon spent in the world of health insurance. I know I didn't. I'll see you on Friday. Actually, I might see you before Friday because I might do like a special bonus video. I don't know. This whole Government Shutdown has gotten everything all furschrubitdybrubt here at Vlogbrothers.