Congratulations! You have successfully logged on to healthcare.gov, the official website of the Affordable Care Act. When all the site's glitches are fixed, hopefully by Nov. 30 (year unknown), the act will revert to being called "Obamacare." Until then, it's the Affordable Care Act. Or, if technical difficulties worsen, "Boehnercare." Got that? Let's begin.
To better understand your health care needs, please tell us why you are visiting today:
A) I need health insurance for myself and my family.
B) I currently have health insurance but want to explore other options.
C) I am a small business owner and need to investigate employee plans.
D) I do not have health insurance but feel a sneeze coming on.
If you answered "D," and you sneeze before actually signing up for health insurance, you have a pre-existing condition. Are you currently experiencing any other symptoms including:
C) Random, unexplained bleeding?
D) All of the above?
If you answered "A," "B," "C" or "D," no worries. The Affordable Care Act was so named because it doesn't CARE what's wrong with you. You can still get coverage. If you suffer chronic neck pain caused by repeatedly ramming your mailbox when backing out of your driveway, you cannot be denied. Auto insurance is another story.
Also, your coverage will be "affordable," providing your name is "Warren Buffett." Now please complete this phrase. The last time I saw a doctor was:
A) Six months ago.
B) Over a year ago.
C) That time Billy Renzetti punched me in the eye.
D) When I exited my mother's birth canal.
OK, we understand; you haven't been taking proper care of yourself because it's too expensive. That's why the Affordable Care Act is so awesome. Now you can just march right into a doctor's office and schedule a fully covered checkup in March 2034, the first open appointment since everybody will be taking advantage of this "checkups are covered" thing.
Now we need some family information. For whom are you seeking coverage?
B) You and your spouse.
C) You and your same-sex partner. (Oh, boy. That's a whole other issue.)
D) You, your spouse and your accident-prone children.
Whatever you answered, the Affordable Care Act has a plan that's just right for you. But first you have to decide how sick you plan to be in the future. Then you get to choose among Platinum, Gold, Silver, Bronze and Catastrophic plans If you're stumped, here are a few suggestions:
Catastrophic plans cover less than 60 percent of average health care costs. Choose this if you:
A) Have a low monthly income.
B) Have an exceptionally high pain tolerance.
C) Have a psychic who predicted you will be healthy until the day you die.
D) Don't plan to see a doctor unless a house falls on you.
Platinum plans, conversely, cover 90 percent of costs. Choose this if you:
A) Have more money than you know what to do with.
B) Make more hospital visits than the cast of Grey's Anatomy.
C) Think it's cool to tell your pretentious friends you have a platinum plan.
D) Wrongly assume that your platinum status will get you perks like complimentary Vegas buffets or one free checked bag on your next flight.
ALERT! YOU HAVE BEEN TEMPORARILY KICKED OFF HEALTHCARE.GOV. PLEASE TRY AGAIN IN ABOUT TWO HOURS. EAT AN APPLE AND TAKE AN ASPIRIN WHILE YOU WAIT. BOTH WILL MAKE YOU HEALTHY AND MIGHT REDUCE YOUR PREMIUMS.
Welcome back! Where were we? Oh, yes. You were trying to decide between all those plans which, on the surface, sound identical but, on closer inspection, are radically different. Are seeing and chewing important to you? Then make sure your plan includes vision and dental coverage. When you have made a selection, simply check the box and try not to get sick until you receive notification that your new plan has been processed.
ALERT! HEALTHCARE.GOV FAILED TO SAVE YOUR PROFILE INFORMATION. PLEASE REFRESH YOUR SCREEN AND BEGIN AGAIN
Why are you visiting today?
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