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Making a difference in how people find health information, today and into the future.

Continued Improvements to HealthCare.gov

Monday, October 28, 2013

CMS is working through the punch list of items to improve the HealthCare.gov marketplace functionality. 

This weekend, Terremark, the company that operates the data center that hosts the HealthCare.gov website and the Data Services Hub, experienced a failure in a networking component that brought down network connectivity to the site, and other web sites as well.  We are pleased to say that Terremark resolved their outage issues last night, and as of 7:00 AM this morning, the Data Services Hub is functioning smoothly.  We continue to test one piece of the system impacted by the outage and are working as quickly as possible to allow consumers to again access the online application and enrollment tools on HealthCare.gov.

Working over the weekend with its new management structure in place the tech team has put into place fixes to address performance and functionality and will continue to make progress each week.  This nerve center for technical operations is diagnosing problems and making quick decisions with developers and vendors to analyze, troubleshoot, prioritize and resolve issues in real time.

This team has put in place enhanced monitoring and instrumentation tools for HealthCare.gov -- providing us with data that enables us to get a high level picture of what's going on in the Marketplace application and enrollment process.  We are now better able to see how quickly pages are responding, and measure how changes improve a user's experience on the site.  We’re also getting information on which parts of the application are causing the most errors--enabling us to prioritize what we fix next.

The following items were recently released into production in order to improve the user experience:

  1. We’ve tuned configurations to various system components to improve site responsiveness.  This has increased performance across the site.  As an example, viewing and filtering health plans during the online shopping process now responds in seconds, not minutes.
  2. We’ve resolved issues with how eligibility notices are presented to consumers so that those now display properly at the completion of the application process. 

This post is no longer accepting comments. If you want to learn more about the Affordable Care Act, please visithhs.gov/healthcare. If you have question about or need assistance with health insurance enrollment, please visithttps://www.healthcare.gov/contact-us/.

Join the Conversation


Submitted by Linda on
I began my application process as soon as I was able to get on the web site ibn early October. Due to various problems, I have still not been able to complete it although I have been on the system for at least 25 hours. Now I see media reports that the site is insecure. Is there any way to delete my information from the system until it is fully operational and secure?
Submitted by Melissa on
I'm supposedly being called back by someone this week to get my account deleted since I haven't even been able to get access back into my account from the very first time I signed up. It's from a different department other than the people who enroll, plus I called (again) on a Saturday and the deleters are M-F. I'll see if it's actually possible.
Submitted by Jackie on
We have had alot of problems with his first application because they said they could not find it in the system. When we were told people would call us about it, they never did. We've called and called to get my husband his health insurance. They had to put in a new application on line and now my hustband has to verify his income for them to declare his eligiblility..
Submitted by Don on
I first tried to enroll my wife in an Exchange plan a couple of days after the launch. I had registered her on Healthcare.gov several weeks earlier, so did not have any problems with the initial registration bottleneck that so many hit. We live in Illinois, which has set up an exchange but uses the federal website for the selection process. I got through all the personal info stuff and got an eligibility email with no problem the first time I visited the site. But then I hit what must have been one of the “glitches.” After answering the question about does anyone in the household use tobacco, the site said I needed to review my application. When I clicked on the link to do so, it sent me to another page with a button to “continue application.” When I clicked that, it sent me back to the one saying I needed to review the application. I recognized it as a fairly simple programming error, and with all the publicity about “glitches” just figured I'd wait a while. Two days ago I returned to the site and could not log in. It just kept re-displaying the login screen. I realize now the site was probably down for upgrades. RECOMMENDATION: use a temporary redirect to display a page saying that. I figured maybe I had my password wrong, and since I had tried several times, I had probably locked the account, as is typical with most sites. It never gave me a message to that effect, but I went ahead and clicked “forgot password” anyway, and got the email to reset it. When I attempted the reset, it asked the security questions, which I guess I fumbled with a typo – I knew the answers but it said I got one wrong. No biggie, but it did not give me another chance. I was then given http errors that I was not allowed to see the pages. RECOMMENDATION: let people have at least one more shot at the questions – they can go get their notes and type more carefully. What I did was clear cache and restart my browser, return to the site, click “forgot password” again, get a new email with link, and repeat the process. This time I got the password reset. So I clicked “resume application” and got to the “you need to review...” page. It behaved the same way. This was disappointing, since they had been fixing glitches for weeks and this seemed like an important one. So I called the help number. A very pleasant woman asked where I was in the process, and asked if I had clicked “Set” on the “answer questions about your family” button. I said I had, weeks ago. And it did not appear to be active, since when I hovered the mouse pointer over it nothing changed. She said click it anyway. I did, answered the tobacco question again, and this time the “select plan button was activated and the “you need to review” message was gone. So they HAD fixed it. It seems though that I was in a state I should never have been able to get in, and I needed to re-answer the tobacco question to get back into the intended workflow. RECOMMENDATION: Use the “hover” function to show what buttons are active. RECOMMENDATION: When making fixes like this, if possible, try to publish advice like the re-answering the tobacco question. I know that is difficult to do for every issue, but maybe just an informational panel recommending that if you had trouble in the past, go back a step or two instead of continuing to hit the same wall... Anyway, I was then able to see all the plans for my state and start the comparison shopping process. We did not select one and enroll but will do so this weekend after further study.
Submitted by Don on
Here's a simple fix to make: On the "select a plan" page for Illinois, the links in all plans to provider lists are lacking the ":" after "https" The result is a browser error "unable to find https' This will frustrate 99% of the people who get that far in the enrollment process. I inserted the ":" in the url in the browser window and got the desired info for several providers. Just fix the javascript in one place and you have fixed some 45 "broken links" And if it is true for all states, even more. Don
Submitted by Kieu Linh tran on
I need to have an insurance for my self . Please let me know how to sign up Obama plan
Submitted by Connie on
I also am unable to view my "Eligibility Results" and have been stuck at that point for several weeks. It appears that the "View Eligibility" button does not link to another page but is just an object.
Submitted by MikeG on
the eligibility notices seem to work in Adobe Reader, but not some other pdf viewers. That should be looked into.
Submitted by MikeG on
if in fact Early Adopters were in the former "Virtual Database" and were not ported correctly into the new database, is this perhaps a reason for many early adopters finding themselves in limbo? I think this system can be made to work, it is working for me, but not without some initial frustrations. the quality of the support line people has seemed good to me, i surely would not be encouraged should that be outsourced to India. So don't do that. I think also people don't have a complete understanding of the different phases of this overall process, and how different states may be implementing their piece of the puzzle differently. This should be explained, and examinations of perceptions and problems may be associated to the different implementations. bad implementation in any piece becomes a thorn that distracts from the good implementations. you know that a wrong "fact" in today's headline is corrected tomorrow buried on page 12. This is how we see so much opportunity for mean mouthing. Instead of concerted effort to make this work at all levels.
Submitted by myother on
Nice spin.
Submitted by Dorothy Freeman on
Just want you to know....all of the uninsured...women, men, and children...the people who have been canceled because their illness exceeded what the insurance company would pay....people who watched their children suffer with 'pre-existing' illness and medical bills which push them into bankruptcy...for all of the American people...who were priced out of the healthcare market...because their premiums and deductibles continue to rise....The people who are not lucky enough to have employer provided health insurance...We are the people...who want to THANK YOU...for your commitment....and want you to know....WE support your efforts and your courage in fighting for the people.....who have no other voice.
Submitted by Christina on
I am unable to see my eligibility results. Tells me webpage is not found when I click on it. Frustrating been trying since the site went up!
Submitted by Bob on
For those having trouble signing up through the web, do a search for a navigator in your area. I was surprised on how many locations provide this service within a short distance from my home and I'd rather speak to someone, who is knowledgeable, in person anyway. It is incredible that many can substantially save on an aca plan even though they are enrolled in an employer sponsored plan. We thought that we were required to take our company's plan but we can drop our current plan at the end of the year and take the aca starting in January. With the tax break taken off our monthly premium, the lowered cost will be a blessing.
Submitted by JamesW on
You describe this as a "conversation" but there's no sign of anybody listening. It' s not feasible or sensible to respond to typical user bad experiences, but some of these comments make specific points - a bug reporting tool, a meter on the home page, PHI privacy - for which a reply would be appropriate.
Submitted by Sandra on
Blessings on your continued battle. Pass the blessings onto Hillary for her birthday.
Submitted by Eva on
And I'm almost through the enrollment process. I just need to select dent l option and confirm everything. I've been at this for weeks. Very frustrating to not be able to finish.
Submitted by Eva on
The site has been for like 3 days straight. This is a joke.
Submitted by Scottt on
Well, for comparison, I was able to get quotes for insurance in CT in less than a minute, and NO LOGIN required.
Submitted by Harvey on
Ms. Sebelius, I would like to thank all who moved forward on health care for all Americans. Years ago my sister-in-law worked at the same hospital I did with health care coverage but being a single mom with 3 young boys she switched jobs and worked for a local insurance agent to be able to be home at night with her boys. He said he would get her healthcare but she was not accepted because she had a pancreatic attack and the insurance co. said pancreatic attacks are do to excessive drinking, but she didn't drink. A couple of years later she had problems eating and after a doctor seen her said she had to change her diet. After about a year of changing her diets and she now could not eat anything the doctors stuck to their diet prescription and told her to just drink water and she would get better. Shortly there after when she couldn't drink anything they had no choice to finally do a scope to find a sist on her pancreas. It turned out to be pancreatic cancer and she past on leaving 3 young boys with no Mother and after the boys, trying life with there estranged Dad who messed them up even more they came to live with us. These young men now would still have their Mother if she had insurance. We all know that if you have insurance you get every test even the unnecessary ones but if you have no insurance you get no test and left to die unnecessarily with no regard to you or for your family. This happens alot I worked at a hospital for 15 years and seen this all the time, so the affordable care act does not have death panels it is the current health care system that does. Please keep up the fight and believe me more people want the affordable care act to go further than what it is now to protect us citizens. We cannot go backward now don't let anymore young parents die leaving children with no Mother. It is a sad and embarrassing sight to see all our representatives fight for big pocket lining businesses instead of the Americans they are suppose to be. Thanks for listening Harvey
Submitted by Marcus on
HHS Secretary Sebelius did not answer the question about why she is not personally applying for coverage via healthcare.gov. The correct answer is simply that she is over the age of 65, therefore is covered by Medicare, and ineligible for Obamacare. She obviously does not need Obamacare since she has Medicare. That would have taken the wind out of the Congressman from Colorado who was grilling her about this. That said, it would be nice to hear that the senior people at CGI, QSSI, CMS would have gone through the whole application process on the website themselves, not just creating a username, and then stopped short of pressing "Enroll". Instead last week and yesterday they just smugly said that they have employer provided insurance.
Submitted by Dizzy on
I'd be so fired & probably sued if I delivered crap like this to my client.
Submitted by Jordan on
It isn't about being able to register. I registered weeks ago, but the log in doesn't work. Even if you are registered when you put in your log in info the site just reboots you back to the log in page
Submitted by James on
What a mess.
Submitted by Diana on
Why can't paper applictions be sent out? I asked for one and was told it would take 10 buisness days. It's been well over that time and I stil have not recieved it. I completed a 2 hour one on the phone and I feel like we should have qualified as our income for a family of 4 is only 55,663.00 a year as my husband hasn't had an income raise in 13 years. I tried asking for an appeal only to find out someone has to call me back in esclation dept. but when that person called back they had no clue of how to help us and was told our application was canceled! Seems like there are more problems than just the website access and fuctioning issues. I think there are some employee issues as well. Just another example of the right hand has no clue what the left hand is doing or even how to fix it.
Submitted by Elizabeth on
Thank you Mr President and Secretary Sebelius for the ACA. I know it will be a great success! Hang in there