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Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Problems with Medicare's Express Plus app

The screen shown on the mobile phone at right is the main menu of Medicare's Express Plus app. This is the screen I had been trying since yesterday to get to see, but that I could not see. I would go to the app and punch in the login code but then a message saying the app was "not available" would appear, telling me to "try again later".

I got a bit fed up with this outcome because I was trying to make a Medicare claim. So this morning I went to the contacts page of the app and looked for a way to get in touch with the organisation; the organisation's Orwellian name, as you probably already know, is the Department of Human Services. I found their Twitter handle and tweeted my problem to them. They got back to me after a lengthy delay telling me that there were "some isolated issues" and to call a number.

When I eventually got through on that number, which took about 15 minutes' waiting, the woman who answered the phone on the other end told me to unlink my Medicare profile from my my.gov.au account. I felt a bit annoyed at this suggestion because it had taken me a fair while, back in May, to do the linking in the first place. I told her that it was inconvenient for me to do as she had recommended, and she just said, getting a bit annoyed herself, that this was the solution they had been told from above to recommend to people calling with the problem I had mentioned. So I just hung up the phone and went online.

Unlinking can be a bit scary because you need to have one service linked in order to own a my.gov.au account. So when you unlink your Medicare profile and your Medicare profile was the only service you had linked, you also get rid of your account, but I plunged on regardless. It took me about five minutes with the correct information at hand to make the connection again.

I went back to the phone and tried to log in once more but the same message appeared. So I did what you would probably expect a reasonable person to do at this point in the proceedings: I deleted the app and downloaded it again. After it had completed downloading to the phone I punched in my old access code and the main menu appeared. Success. Although frankly it was not a good look to have to make me go through all this malarkey because of something that had happened behind the scenes and that Medicare will never tell anyone about. The word "monolithic" comes to mind.

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