Consumer Reports, the nation's most respected consumer watchdog, has some sobering advice for Americans attempting to sign up for Obamacare: "Stay away."
The federal exchange, Healthcare.gov, which has been plagued by software glitches, should be avoided “for at least another month if you can,” the magazine told its readers.
“Hopefully that will be long enough for its software vendors to clean up the mess they’ve made."
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Consumer Reports, which has tested the site since its debut Oct. 1, said that only 271,000 of the 9.47 million people who attempted to register in the first week could do so.
"That's about 1 in 35. Many people couldn't even create user names and passwords," the magazine said.
Consumer Reports consulted Phoenix software tester Ben Simo, who offered the following tips for creating a user account "that actually works."
He says to carefully follow instructions when creating a user name, a task which is "not as easy as it seems.
"Put in everything mentioned in the garbled instructions: at least seven characters that include at least one upper-case letter, one lower-case letter, one number, and one of the permitted symbols. Also follow the password instructions to the letter," according to Simo.
If that doesn't work, "don’t believe all the status and error messages that you see on the screen. They may not always match reality,” Simo continues.
In addition, check your inbox often, because if you get approved and don't activate it within a few hours, the account will be voided.
And clear your computer's cookies, which may have overloaded the system.
"If all this is too much for you to absorb," the magazine advises, "follow our previous advice: Stay away from Healthcare.gov for at least another month if you can."
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