David Kenyon is used to answering questions. He runs Cover Wrap Communications in Vero Beach, Fla. He's especially good at answering questions about the value of the advertising that wraps around covers of magazines placed in a doctor's office.
He's not so good at answering questions about health-care plans 3,000 miles away in Oregon.
But at least Kenyon will take your call.
"My wife thinks I'm crazy for answering the phone when I see it is from Oregon," he said. "Calls come in until 9 p.m."
Last Friday at dinner, I took a call at a restaurant. We had just been seated. It's pretty funny.David KenyonCover Wrap Communications
The calls started after Obamacare went into effect. Several states started their own websites, including Cover Oregon. The phone number for Cover Oregon is 1-855-CoverOR, or 1-855-268-3767. It turns out the phone number for Kenyon's business in Florida, Cover Wrap, is 1-855-CoverWR, or 1-855-268-3797. There's just one number different—a "6" sends you to Oregon, but a "9" sends you to Florida.
Kenyon said in October he "noticed an uptick in wrong numbers coming from Oregon." The calls were coming from people who had applied to the health-care website. "They're always checking on their applications," he said. "They'd just start in, and I'd say, 'I've gotta stop you. You called the wrong number.' "
He called Oregon health exchange officials to make sure they had the right number listed. "I was reassured by Cover Oregon that all numbers were correct on their website," he said.
People were simply misdialing. There was nothing Kenyon could do about it, short of changing his number, which would hurt business. "We have clients in Oregon and have no way of knowing which calls are good or bad, especially with new business calls," he said.