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It took me five tries taking three hours over six days to get to the first sign up page for the Affordable Care Act. Then the system confused me, I think, with a cousin 20 years older than I who passed away in Ohio in 2011. But signup is possible still

The one thing I expected the Obama administration to get right has been Obamacare. So far, if I were grading the system, I'd give it an F+, which as a friend of mine said when he got that grade in our intermediate Russian class back in college, this isn't a grade. It's sarcasm. But I'll can the sarcasm here and offer some suggestions that may actually help.

My Experience Trying to Sign Up for the New Affordable Care Act Insurance Plans

Like millions of other uninsured Americans, I was eager to buy an Obamacare plan. A few minutes after midnight on October 1, I happened to be in a hospital bed, but as soon as I got discharged that afternoon I got out my laptop and tried to log on to And like millions of other uninsured Americans, I didn't even get a landing page. So I tried again on October 3. And October 5. And October 6.

Finally on October 8 I got to a page that would take my personal information to create an account, and the system returned questions to verify my identity. Rister isn't an especially common name, and there are only a few other Robert Rister's in the USA, five that I know of. However, the system asked me a series of questions appropriate for a relative born 35 years before I was, who had never lived in my state, who had a different middle name, who wouldn't be signing up on the national exchange anyway because he died in 2011.

But the system asked me questions about his life, and when I clicked on "none of the above," it told me it could not identify me. However, there was a toll-free number for calling Experian, the credit rating agency, to speak with a live operator to verify my identity.

Getting Experian to Verify Your Credit History So You Can Sign Up for Obamacare

Naturally, I called the toll-free number right away. It was busy. I called them again a few hours later. It was busy. I called them the next day, and it rang! Then I waited on hold for 1 hour and 22 minutes before I gave up speaking with a live agent to prove I wasn't the guy with the similar name who was born in a different decade, lived in a different state all his life, in a town I've never had the pleasure of visiting, and died two years ago.

So what can I do next? What can you do if you haven't been able to get through, either?

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