Personal finance
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Applying for Obamacare could be painful
Getting benefits from the Affordable Care Act may require filling out a 21-page form, according to a draft proposal. And the online version doesn't sound any easier, with a hefty 21 steps, according to the Associated Press. That's a far cry from's (AMZN) one-step ordering process.

The complexity raises the question of whether the application form will actually backfire, scaring off the very consumers the law is meant to serve.

While the government estimates the paper application should take 45 minutes to complete, that seems like wishful thinking. It's like when a cookbook advises you to set aside 30 minutes to prepare a complicated dish. If your gut tells you that time frame applies only to experts, you're probably right.

"This lengthy draft application will take a considerable amount of time to fill out and will be difficult for many people to be able to complete," Ron Pollack, executive director of advocacy group Families USA, told the AP. "It does not get you to the selection of a plan."

Would-be Obamacare customers need to supply information such as their current employment status, their income, what deductions they take and other income from sources such as rental properties or capital gains.

And the application is just the start. Applicants will have their paperwork examined by three major U.S. agencies, including the IRS. An applicant's income, identity and citizenship will be reviewed.

Of course, the application is still only in draft form, which means it may change before it's issued to the public. But perhaps it's not surprising that the form is so lengthy or complicated, given that the government isn't known for consumer-friendly paperwork.
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