Think you've had some unlucky experiences in your day? Maybe. But, to put our own troubles in perspective, let's just take a moment and try to emphasize with this stock-photo model who had the unfortunate honor of starring on the HealthCare.gov landing page. Over the weekend, Fox News reported that scores of tweets from frustrated users trying to log on to the site directed their ire at the smiling brunette; eventually, a fake Twitter account was created in her honor. (Granted, it's not very good.) Dozens of media sites scoured stock agency portfolios trying to determine her identity, but no dice.
And now, the smiling face has disappeared from the site entirely, replaced with a graphic showing the various ways to sign up for coverage. We reached out to the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services to find out what happened to the mystery woman. The agency issued a statement to Refinery29 that the photo was swapped with an interactive graphic in order to provide additional information about applying.
"As we move from the initial launch of the Marketplace into the continuing Open Enrollment, we wanted to highlight that there are multiple options to apply for health coverage," a CMS spokesperson says. "The individuals in the images that we used for the launch of the website redesign in June and through the beginning of Open Enrollment signed standard releases and understood how their images would be used. We are transitioning to new graphics now because we believe they provide a better way to visually reinforce key information to users about options for applying at this point in time." While we don't doubt that this model knew her photo would turn up on the website, she probably never imagined she'd be a talking point in the bitter political battle over healthcare. We hope, for her sake, that she's enjoying a perfectly styled martini somewhere right now.