My parents bestowed me with a simple first name. They wanted to honor my grandfather’s memory by gifting me his initials, HLD. Thus, my birth certificate reads, “H Lance Davis.”
For Washington state, wahealthplanfinder.org is an intermediary website to connect its citizens to their new insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act. For $2,000, I can get an acceptable health care plan, or I can neglect it for a fee of $500. My preference is not to spend money on something without benefit, so I am opting to invest in decent protection to hedge the financial risks of breaking a wrist.
My dilemma occurred at the second step of the process on our state’s website when it asked for my name as written on my Social Security card. After filling in that information and trying to continue, I was informed my first name could be no fewer than two characters, and no more than 20.
Occasionally, I incorrectly spell my name with a period after the H, so I made an attempt at it. Periods are not acceptable characters in a first name, according to the website. Hyphens and apostrophes are acceptable, but not periods.
I was supposed to refer to my Social Security card to confirm the one-letter spelling of my name. I was sure I had written it out correctly.
Who is the blunderbuss who gets to determine how many letters are in my name? How is it they could not go through records to determine there might be some people with fewer than two, or more than 20 characters in a name? And why limit the number?
And hyphens are OK, but not periods? Why weren’t my parents told of this situation when my birth certificate was formed?
I made the appropriate phone call to the customer support team. The customer service representative on the line second-guessed the spelling of my name. I reminded her it was my name, and I am quite familiar with it and its one-letter spelling. She believed me only after I shared my Social Security number with her.
They had no solution for my conundrum — just silence. Does this mean I get to opt-out for free? I doubt it. But, really, who are they to define my first name?
H Lance Davis