Md. health exchange still a problem

Why can't Maryland come up with a better health insurance web site?

No matter what one hears, the Maryland Health Insurance Exchange is still a difficult system to navigate ("Give yourself the gift of quality health care," Dec. 3). I have spent the last week trying to create an account, but since my situation isn't typical, I am on my own. The insurance broker I selected "fired" me because he couldn't help with the account creation. I left messages with Healthy Howard (I am in Howard County) that were never returned. I sat on hold with the state offices, but no one ever picked up the phone, and there is no way to leave a message. I made an appointment with a navigator. After waiting 45 minutes at Healthy Howard, I was told that a navigator was not available but an "assister" will show me how to use a computer. I finally bullied my way to a navigator who was helpful and confirmed my account concerns.

At Healthy Howard, I was told that no one returns phone calls because they don't have enough manpower. With the December 18 deadline approaching, why aren't more people available? Why did the website go down recently? Why are there still significant problems navigating it? Why are there spelling errors in the help files ("youre" is not the same as "you're")?

I've spent 40 years developing software, and this system is abysmal. Sure, the colors are pretty, but the usability is appalling. Maryland should never have gone with the Connecticut system but instead signed on with the 36 states that went with the federal plan.

Oh yeah, the address at the bottom of each page is still Manchester, Conn. Way to go, Maryland.

Scott Rosenthal, Columbia

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