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HealthCare.gov: Improving the Account Registration Process

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

We continue to improve the overall user experience each week on HealthCare.gov, so that by the end of November the site will be functioning smoothly for the vast majority of users. 

As you know, one of the places we’ve seen a lot of consumer frustration is in their ability to successfully create an account.  This issue was identified on October 1 and we’ve made significant progress since then to deliver a much smoother process for consumers. 

In combination, the following fixes are allowing users to successfully create an account and be able to continue through the application process.  We can now process nearly 17,000 account registrants per hour – or five per second – with an error rate near zero:

  • We replaced the virtual database with a high-capacity physical one, which allowed more efficient, effective processing and significantly reduced the error rates, or account registration failures;
  • We’ve optimized software configurations to increase efficiency in system interactions;
  • We added capacity by doubling the number of servers;
  • We swapped out a directory component for another that can process more transactions simultaneously;
  • We improved the efficiency of database look-ups through software changes;
  • And we pushed through a patch release with four software fixes to address users that were having a hard time logging in to their accounts. 

We are moving through the rest of our punch list to make more performance and functionality improvements as our work to improve HealthCare.gov continues.

Thanks to these fixes, people across the nation are shopping for and signing up for coverage. Deborah L., a New Hampshire native, enrolled online for a plan that “will save us hundreds of dollars each month. It has better coverage, lower deductibles, and lower copays.”  She says she “couldn’t be happier.”

To hear Deborah’s story visit: http://www.hhs.gov/healthcare/facts/blog/2013/10/affordable-coverage-deborah.html


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 got the same goofy comment, it said my email and name were not unique! Makes no sense.
Submitted by Carolyn on
My problem is an odd one. I waited until this week to begin to register and it went smoothly. Thanks. I registered in order to see if I could purchase insurance through the marketplace as all of the estimators I've used leading up to the rollout basically said I would not be eligible for premium credit - my income appeared to be a few thousand over the cap. But when I entered my income information on the actual application I received a completed status and eligibility results giving me a specific amount of premium credit. I was surprised and then fearful that there is a mistake somewhere. I cannot review the application as it is completed. I can select policies, but I do not want to commit to a policy until I am assured I qualify. I do not want to end up paying back money for a system error. Online chat said I would have to file an appeal. Is this the only recourse I have to ensure there is no error?
Submitted by Barbara on
I've tried all week at different times and have not been able to open an account. Opening an account with ID, password, and three security questions is Programming 101. There are testing tools you could have used to simulate volume testing. I've designed complex systems and tested systems for 20 years and anyone that went live with this application should be embarrassed and handing in their resignation. I hate to think about how the security of this system was tested if you couldn't get past Step 1.
Submitted by Michael on
Can't even get a decent response time on paper applications !
Submitted by Ann on
That is really nice some people can register. I have been trying at least two hours daily and have yet to complete my application. I have been trying for over a month and I am not very happy with this piece of crap. I had health insurance and was happy with it. Now, I am forced to get some government botched insurance program.
Submitted by Hugh on
I was able to complete application and enroll in an insurance company after using 3 different email address and different password got my tax credits which I did not get the other two times I applied make sure you put down you are filing tax return in 2014 to get the tax credits you deserve it looks like they are getting the site working better glad I got the coverage I want Thank again Mr.President.
Submitted by Alan on
Luckily, I had no problems at all with the registration and application process. It appeared to have completed successfully. I subsequently received 4 emails that my application had been processed and my results were waiting. After logging on, a message reads "Your detailed eligibility results are ready" with a green button to click on: "View Your Eligibility Results." Unfortunately, clicking on it opens a new browser window that is white and completely blank. This new window has a long URL ending in "?fileidentifier=NULL." Sounds like there is no link to the results. I have now made three calls to the help center, but the reps are obviously not trained for this type of support issue or to direct it to someone who might solve it. The most recent rep was eventually diligent and delved into my file, telling me that my results were there and that there was no reason I shouldn't be getting it. But, "check back in a few days and see if it's there. If not call back." It's now been two weeks. I completely understand problems, but there need to be personnel who can actually get to the root problem and give solid answers. Otherwise, "checking back in a few days" is apparently futile.
Submitted by MikeG on
I am encouraged since the site's evident infusion of new technology fixes. it is faster. And i finally got my registration completed.. "in progress" is misleading, it really should have said "awaiting additional user info or corrections before it can be considered completed for submission". I also have seen whereby the Social Security info needs to EXACTLY match who you are on your card. Very close attention to specific use of words can help avoid confusion. good luck with all the language translations
Submitted by Mahan Krishnan on
We improved the efficiency of database look-ups through software changes; Why not run the portion of database on Flash Storage (even running entire DB of Flash storage Fusion-IO/ Violin storage will help) . Your looks ups will fly. You can also turn on a feature called Result_Cache If you are using Oracle database that will cache the look up data so that you do not have to go to disk. We also need some tech savy real life testers. People who have insurance from employers (who do not want ACA) but who are willing to go through the process like a real users and suggest improvements.
Submitted by Colleen on
I'm a small business employer - tried to create account for our company to see if we can cover our employees through shop. I wanted to create an account per instructions on the website so I could print out an application to mail in. Create account doesn't work. Is not possible! It does not progress when you hit next after giving name and email info. Will not let you create an account. Called help center - they cannot give a link to print out an application. Cannot send me an application. No applications in libraries or fed buildings. Can not apply on line. I'm simply looking for a link to a PDF application- and it seems it is not possible. If it is not possible why not put that in instructions- say we can't get you an application right now- return here Dec. 1. I would love to see this work and feel that this program is well worth our time and effort..
Submitted by Linda L on
Please fix this system! I have registered, gotten my eligibility notice and appear to be all set to go. However I can not select a plan. I keep getting this message: Review your Application Details in your Marketplace account to resolve any outstanding issues with your application. Issues with your application must be resolved to keep your coverage. I go back to review, and it appears to be hanging up on the question of Do you smoke. I check no and I get taken back to the same screen which tells me the above message, over and over and over and over. One time I was able to see the plans available to me but was not able to choose. So here I am stuck, again and again and again....please fix this!
Submitted by Jason on
I know what you mean, it seems to have a few kinks in it. I hope that they can get them all figured out though, because if they can't it will probably need to be redesigned. Jason
Submitted by Patrick on
I am having the same problem. It is a circular error.
Submitted by Mike on
I think it is unbelievable that Sec Sebelius would bring healthcare.gov live without completing end to end security testing. She sat there and assured us that our ss numbers were safe but knew that the testing had not been done. She has no credibility regarding this failed web site and should resign. Mu identity verification has been held up since the first day. A month later I am still pending verification even though I uploaded my drivers license and passport to the site 3 weeks ago. If the lead time to verify identity is this long brining the site up on Dec 1st won't help anyone who gets stuck in the identity verification process get coverage by Dec 15th. If people who had coverage & got cancelled because their plans didn't meet the new standards can't get coverage by January 1st because this web site doesn't work Sec. Sebelius will have to resign.
Submitted by Bob on
Continued messages that the verification system is not functioning has prevented the completion of my Application. This morning is had to re-complete several portions that had been done earlier this week, but the system still says verifications are off-line.
Submitted by Del on
Every call to the help center I am told check back on the site in a couple days. well its already been one month of check back in a couple days.
Submitted by Del on
I had Health Insurance (even thou it was High Risk Health Insurance) because of Obama Care on June 30 my coverage was canceled. I was forced into a bridge insurance plan from FDA July 1 which will end on Dec 31. I am required to have Insurance by Jan 1 . I started 30 days ago with the web site and to this date it is still frozen. waiting . ( status: in progress ) thanks for nothing...uploading id verification is not acceptable as the site cant handle it so you have to mail it in. Who knows when they will apply it to the account? The amount of time I have spent on the phone on the web site is not funny if I was charging for my time spent, anguish, frustration, and electricity costs. That would pay for a couple months of platinum care at least.
Submitted by Sonny on
It would be good if there was a way to delete a username and profile information, ie just remove any record that you were there. I have like 4 different usernames on healthcare.gov (all created with my same First and Last names, but different email addresses). Only the one I created in week 3 is any good and allows me to look at plans priced for me. The others are all in various zombie states.
Submitted by Dan on
Lets start with a full disclosure. I'm not a fan of the ACA. I applaud the goals stated in the law, as passed; but am vehemently opposed to the 'personal mandate' TAX as manifested in the law. Second. I'm covered (for now) and am not currently subject to being forced into this "marketplace". And with that said, you should know that I really WANT to like, or at least feel better about this whole thing. This web-site, (and administration) are simply making that very hard. I happen to work in Information security, as a contractor. for the Federal Govt. I don't trust it's ability to safeguard ANY data -- not anymore. So. i've tried to look at what is being offered, hoping that despite my fear and distrust, it would be a good thing. Alas, no Joy. There seems to be no way to find out what is actually in a policy, or how much the base price is without "Applying". Frankly, thats just BS, and it Pi**es me off. I don't "apply" for a car/house/anything loan without knowing what I'm looking at and how much it will cost. And to have the Govt hold a legal gun to my head, and threaten me if I don't is simply unacceptable. ok... so Deep Breath... I'll fill in the stupid "application" - but since I'm covered, I can't really buy anyway. It only takes a month to create a web account. Really??? a MONTH? yeah.. That eases my concerns about the prowess of the IT staff and management. and they want me to give up MY personal data? Whatever... Breathe, Dan, Breathe.... So the account's created, but they can't validate me. No,, I did NOT give up my SSN. they give me a number and tell me to call Equifax/Experian 1800 whatever. OK. Credit bureau. Validated. Cred Bureau tells me I'm good to go. Healthcare.gov says nuh-uh! Tried Chat. Chat said call, Called - they tell me I need to wait an extra hour or maybe a day. So I wait. I get an email (which I OPTED OUT OF) that says I'm NOT validated, and I have to send/fax/email documentation. Thats simply not gonna happen. There have been (documented) reports of HHS hiring people, with whom I would not trust anything of value, even it it only had value to Hitler. HHS hires Felons, folks with OUTSTANDING WARRANTS for IDENTITY THEFT to "help" us apply. ok... but you want me to give THAT person my PII. yeah.... not so much.. Not gonna happen. just wouldn't be prudent. So I've given up. Who will pay the damages when healthcare.gov facilitates my identity theft? The Administration? I doubt it. Would they even apologize? Not if history is any guide. I hope that at least SOME people actually get some benefit from this law. I really do. At least before this particular law crashes and burns, but I fear that the number 'helped' by this law will be only a tiny fraction of those that are hurt. And I also fear for those that were struggling at 40-hr workweeks, who have had their full-time status (and paychecks) slashed, who now have the privilege of paying MORE for healthcare coverage thats better for them. Like Maternity coverage or oral contraceptives for Men and older americans well past child bearing years. Sorry HHS. Not good. The Law is bad, the website is bad, the tools like chat and call centers designed to "help" us -- can't, and (at least some) of those hired to help are known felons and identity thieves. (still can't get over that one....)
Submitted by Mark on
Fixing and patching a sinking ship that's sailing is a bad, bad, bad idea. You need to destroy this site and build it from scratch. The foundation of healthcare.gov is built on quicksand. It needs concrete. You need to trash it and go back to the drawing board. Give the project to IBM. They seem to know how technology works. This wreckage known as healthcare.gov is a shame, a disgrace, and its simply pathetic. And, by the way, I was a fan of the ACA and its champion. It also surprises me that you didn't roll it out in phases. I suppose you could say I'm simply frustrated.
Submitted by Esther on
I can get all the way through completing the application until I am at the review stage and use an "edit" button to try to "Change information about your household." (There's something about my household that I entered early on when I started the application that includes an error, which I want to correct.) I can edit anything else, but not that. At that point, when I click "Yes" to change household info in response to the question, there's a short "wait" of a few seconds and nothing else happens. If this function is not ready yet, maybe you should add a note that says so ("We're updating the change-household-information function, and unfortunately it is not yet available. Our estimated time to update this function is: ---"). Then I could wait to try it until then. Thanks! It's frustrating to be so close because I'm VERY eager to see what options are available. Can't wait!
Submitted by Esther on
As others have noted, if you are getting stuck logging in, it can help to create a brand-new account and start over. Some of the earliest accounts (created when the website had just rolled out) seem to come with problems. A newly created account will wipe the slate clean and skip over the early problems. Note: You will need a NEW user name, a NEW password, and a NEW e-mail address, which you can get from any of the free e-mail services if you don't have an extra one. But then you still fill in the same information (name, address, etc.). After creating the new account, always log on using this new account -- treat it as a replacement for your old account and never use your old account again. The healthcare.gov telephone help desk advised me to do this and it worked. One other tip: If you are getting a blank screen when you log in, or perhaps at other times, it can help to empty your browser's cache. Look up "empty the cache" in your browser's help function; it's usually just something to check off on a drop-down menu, but your help function can point you to the menu. Alternatively, try a different browser. That may work too. I've also had good look with the Incognito tabs on Chrome. Apparently they make for an easier, simpler connection and thus avoid the white screen, also.
Submitted by Gordon on
I am at the point where I am ready to review my plan options. It took from 10/1 until 3 days ago to achieve this. The system has "suggested" that I get separate plans for my wife and myself. It says I can choose this or combine into 1 account. I select combine plans, but when I try this it simply brings me back to the same page. This is getting to be TOO MUCH!!! Fix it please.
Submitted by Jim314 on
Not being able to search these comments is obnoxious. Without a problem reporting mechanism, I/one can't tell if a problem has been reported. So here goes. From 10/2 until just now on 10/31, I can run through the Create Account screens and get the message that an email has been sent. The email arrives and is unreadable. No useful information right or wrong, certainly no link to activate the account. Login does not work on any of the 12 accounts I have tried to build. Call the 800 gets somebody who can go through phone enrollment but little else from what I can see, certainly not a tech support to open a problem report and/or figure out what is going on with the failures I have seen, including the unreadable email message. This is frustrating for someone who has done software development as a career with a lot of time in the tester seat. Not involving customers before and still not during the rollout and initial operational period is unprofessional and downright rude.
Submitted by Rosanna on
That's great that you're working on registration. What about those of us already registered who can't complete the enrollment process? Please fix this site so we can complete enrollment!