3. Check your inbox frequently.
If you are truly successful, you should receive an “account activation” e-mail within a few hours to verify that the email address you gave was legit. Answer it promptly, because if you don’t, Healthcare.gov will time you out. If the e-mail never comes, you’ll have to go back to square one.
4. Clear your cookies.
Your next hurdle after creating a functioning user name and password is to reach the identity verification section. If you log in to Healthcare.gov and get nothing but a blank page, what’s likely happening, Simo says, is that in your previous visits to Healthcare.gov, your browser got loaded up with lots of cookies, bits of data and code that are implanted for later retrieval and use by Healthcare.gov. The problem is that the cookie files are bigger than what the website can accept back (yes, a design error). Result: a blank page. Solution: either delete the Healthcare.gov cookies from your browser (typically found in the “privacy” settings in Preferences), or log back in from a browser you’ve never previously used to access Healthcare.gov. That advice rang especially true to me because that's how I finally got an identity verification screen: by switching from my usual Safari browser to another that I rarely use.
If all this is too much for you to absorb, follow our previous advice: Stay away from Healthcare.gov for at least another month if you can. Hopefully that will be long enough for its software vendors to clean up the mess they’ve made. The coverage available through the marketplaces won’t begin until Jan. 1, 2014, at the earliest, and you have until Dec. 15 to enroll if you need insurance that starts promptly.
By the way, Simo has plenty more to say about Healthcare.gov on his blog.
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— Nancy Metcalf