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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/.

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Comments

Submitted by joyce on
It wanted mine and my husbands birth certificates,that was two weeks ago.....I don't know why it wanted them,your S.S.no. can tell your whole life story,anyway that's where I'm stuck.I'm just waiting for our identities to be verified.
Submitted by Sue on
I am also a NH citizen and although I was finally able to login (using Chrome rather than Internet Explorer) I am still unable to complete my application. When I get to the question about whether any of the applicants are full time students, I cannot go any further. The Save and Continue button does not do anything. I have tried "pressing" it with my mouse, with the enter key and with the space bar. I have tried answering yes to the question (which is true) and answering No to the question and I am still unable to move forward. Everytime I try again (the next day or next week) I have to enter through every screen only to find out it has not been fixed. Is this on the "punch list"? Has anyone else experienced this?
Submitted by Julie on
Unfortunately, we always seem to stress the negative. I just registered by telephone. I admit I wanted to do it online. We have just gotten so used to computer technology we prefer it, but the telephone process was remarkably easy and informative. I did not have to wait for a representative at all and got right through. The process went smoothly. I think the key is to remain patient. As any of us know who have worked with computers, they are always going down. This is not something new. I don't know how many times I have stood in an office environment and had to say to the clerk or person there that I completely understood that the computer was slow. The glitches happen all the time and eventually get worked out with new programs. I cannot access the system either today and have had password and login problems. I now called to get registered, so just pick up the phone and try, it may be easier than you think. I have had longer waits with many, many other customer service related issues than this one. If you need the insurance, then be positive and do what they ask, and you are on your way ! Just call the phone number (1-800-318-2596).
Submitted by Marc on
The system is totally down in chicago. All these people should be fired.
Submitted by lance on
Your self-serving "Thanks to these fixes" is disingenuous. Finding one person to give positive comments, while apparently ignoring all of the comments below, is just one example. I have also been trying to apply for 30 days and have yet to successfully navigate through the process. Sometimes I get farther than other times, but it ALWAYS hangs up at some point. And what is with this Mollom privacy policy? Clicking on the link takes me to a page that advises: "We are bound by the strict rules of Belgian and European data protection. We take all appropriate means to protect your data against unauthorised access and damaging." That is supposed to inspire confidence in US citizens?
Submitted by Amanda on
I hate this market stuff I've tried submitting my app for a month now called on 3 different occasion and still not helping I still have a application in progress this whole thing sucks!
Submitted by George on
Is there a disaster recovery plan in place for healthcare.gov ? Having the system be down today throughout HHS Secretary Sebelius's 3 1/2 hour testimony to the House Energy and Commerce Committee today surely qualifies as a disaster. That is really going out of your way to make things easy for the critics of this.
Submitted by Pat on
I've been trying all day to login - keep getting "sorry, system is down".
Submitted by Dan on
Hi folks - welcome to country-wide IT roll-out. Full disclosure: I'm a green card holder, originally from the UK, and over the last 18 months I paid for nearly a year of health insurance for my family (all USCs) with me as the main policy holder and unable to get any actual insurance for myself due to a pre-existing condition (which was fully-covered in the UK - and I mean fully). Right now I'm working as a contractor, so I'm not eligible for insurance on a business account. I can't yet vote, but I pay my taxes (proudly). Since I moved to the US in 2008, my health has been rapidly deteriorating because I simply can't afford to get the care I need. The removal of exclusions for pre-existing condition is going to mean I'll more than likely be able to see my kids grow up. Words can't express how much this changes my life for the better. I agree that it is frustrating to have problems signing up, but I'm remaining calm by remembering the following: 1. There's no advantage to being the first to sign up 2. We've got until the end of the year to sign up 3. 17k accounts per hour is no mean feat 4. I can sign up via phone if I want (I prefer to deal with computers :P ) I've lived through, studied, and documented all kinds of terrible government IT programs across the world, including: the LASCAD ambulance dispach system in 1992 that lead to delays of up to 11 hours to respond to requests for ambulance assistance; Electronic Data Systems' many, many botched projects including the 2003-4 Child Support Agency project that was simply scrapped; and many more, in the public and private sectors. This is going pretty well, considering - it's a system that was bound to have teething problems, given the huge userbase. I think it's a shame that our representatives in DC chose to try and stop this with over 40 separate votes, culminating in a government shutdown, rather than doing anything to try and make it a success. It might have been nice if in the news we'd had reports saying "bi-partisan committee finds that healthcare.gov site's infrastructure is under-provisioned" rather than "36th attempt to defund the ACA," but there you go - we're here now. If you're here to sign up I'm guessing you have a story similar to mine - unable to get the insurance you and your family need. I know it's frustrating - I'm going to have to talk to Experian, apparently, to identify myself even though I'm pretty sure the government has more info on me than most of you :) - and I think it's valuable to express your frustration - every software project I've run has been an ultimate success because feedback from clients is vital to achieving their needs. All I want to remind folks, really, is that this is a good thing, a step in the right direction for building a stronger, healthier America; an America that doesn't languish in 38th place in the WHO rankings, below Costa Rica, Morocco, and twice as badly off as Greece, in 14th; a country that has the highest spending per capita on healthcare yet doesn't have the results to match. Don't be fooled by some negative press about vanishing stock photos, or angry and uninformed posts on Facebook. Don't buy the lies of businesses who are cutting hours to below full-time to avoid giving hard-working Americans the quality of life they absolutely, unquestionably deserve. This is going to work - this is absolutely going to work, if for no other reason than to make life better for the millions of citizens who are living in pain, who are living in fear, and those who are at risk of losing everything they own because before the ACA they were nothing more than grist for the mill of the US health insurance industry. Besides, getting too gloomy about it is only going to make you ill :P We've had years and years of gloom and misery perpetuated by predatory and poorly regulated healthcare. It's time to start feeling happier about it, I promise :)
Submitted by Randy Hamel on
WELL PUT hope lots of republicans read this but it probably wouldnt sink in to them pig headed people
Submitted by Another Dan on
Thank you! Your comments are wise words! Glad, too, that you'll soon have health coverage here in the U.S.
Submitted by Chip on
I created 4 different username/password accounts on healthcare.gov over the first three weeks of the system using my first name, last name and 4 different email addresses since that is what you use as a unique key. Only the last username allowed me to get far enough to view my plans and prices. How can I delete the first 3 no longer used usernames? I tried calling the help line number but got the standard refrain "We are having a lot a problems ... so we cannot do that for you. " I suspect the first 3 accounts are no longer userable because they got stuck, and stuck hard, at various points in the application data entry processes, especially the identity verification step. I even took a photograph of my drivers license and uploaded the JPEG to the site as was one of the alternatives for identifying myself, but nothing came of that. People do stuff like that and naively believe if they are just patient enough that their application will be processed. These people will wind up having no insurance at all on Jan 1.
Submitted by bill on
Can not find my account. What should I do?
Submitted by Summer on
Wow! Yes, the website is crashed. Yes, it is aggravating. No, you can't be completely blind to know that it takes more than a few months to run such a website that will obviously be popular. People take a breather, and this is coming from an uninsured person. I know that I want health care for my family, but I am smart enough to not freak out when the first road block comes along. You cannot lose complete faith in the system just because of a glitch. Come on people, if you've been without insurance this long than you had time to research other options. I just watched the firing squad take down Kathleen Sebelius, and at least she admitted that it needs fixed.
Submitted by Jefferson Fitzgerald on
I agree with you Summer. Naturally it is frustrating to not be able to access something that is obviously in very high demand. I feel like everyone is letting that overwhelm the other reality that has to exist for everyone that is attempting to use the site and that is the fact that they obviously WANT to take advantage of the possibility that they could save money and/or have access to better coverage options than they are getting through private insurers outside of the Marketplace. What I have found out from a little independent research is that if you contact the Marketplace with your feedback about what specifically is preventing you from using the site, they are actually able to somehow send your feedback report to whatever place or department has the task of working on and fixing the website problems. It seems more productive to take the time to do that rather than complaining about it. Not saying that no one is paying attention to all these comments. I'm sure the government is paying attention to everything being said especially since they have added the ability for people to openly voice their opinions in this "forum" that are publicly displayed on the actual website itself! BUT, if people really want the website fixed it would be so much more productive to contact the Marketplace people directly so that they can submit your detailed report directly up the chain. We complain about the government arguing and pointing fingers when there is a problem (recent gov't shutdown), but aren't we doing the same thing!!! I'm not minimizing anyone’s frustration or trying to make anyone look bad/offend/criticize. I am just genuinely suggesting that perhaps we can all do something to improve the situation faster because I am sure the more reports they get and with more specific information about errors, the better this will go for all of us. Maybe this will sound ridiculous to a lot of people, but I just wanted to share my advice from my personal experience so far and hopefully impact the situation with some positive energy because I firmly believe it to be more powerful than negative when trying to impact any situation. Even this one.
Submitted by Natalie on
I have done exactly what you have suggested above on several occasions, talking to supervisors and also ARC (advanced resolution center) specialists. Unfortunately, They have not been of much assistance either.I have been explaining the problems I have been experiencing to them for weeks... but nothing has changed! I created an account before Oct 1, and as of 2 weeks ago, I have not been able to even log in to view my application status!! Can't change my password as that link does not work, either. Can't create a new account because the system recognizes name/e-mail, etc. Tried everything possible but, alas...here I am, forever stuck in application limbo!! So...although your suggestions sounds reasonable, I'm sure many of us have already tried that route with no success either, I totally understand the frustration of applicants as I have had nothing but "negative" experiences trying to sign up. My husband and I will lose our current ins. plan as of 12-31-13 because it does not comply with the ACA. We were so excited when the marketplace opened and have been supporters of the reforms thus far.....Needless to say, our excitement has turned to sheer frustration, and now maybe even something more "negative" than that!!! So yes, we will keep trying, but with more of a sense of "reality" than "excitement" that this whole thing may not turn out exactly like we had hoped......
Submitted by Donald on
Here is what to do: 1) Go to some obscure free email site like aol.com 2) create a new email account 3) use your first name, last name and the new email account to create a new user name / password on healthcare.gov 4) Login and go through the application process. This works. Trying to get any account or partially completed application that you started prior to say Oct 20 is going to give you problems like you have experienced.
Submitted by Julie on
Summer: So glad to see someone like myself who is staying positive and patient right now. But, unfortunately, I think this is our society today. Thank you for your positive feedback. I registered by telephone and had no problems. I, too, have been biding my time. You're great !
Submitted by Jim on
Many thanks to Secretary Sebilius for taking responsibility in the congressional hearing today for the problems with the website. Now that the "witch hunt" is over Ms. Sebilius can direct her focus on more important subjects rather than the finger pointing politics that the Republican party seems to be so obsessed with. Thank you, Madam Secretary for being accountable. You are a chip off the Gilligan block. Your dad would have been proud.
Submitted by Summer on
Jim, I completely agree with you, and I am sure that she will do everything in her power to not allow this to happen again.
Submitted by dennis on
why has the system been down for two days????. I'm at the last stage of enrolling and I can't even log in.
Submitted by Donna on
Our insurance has been cancelled effective 12/31/2013. It doesn't help me if they extend (it's not a delay) the enrollment period when I become uninsured at the beginning of the year. I'm guessing I will be enrolling in an insurance plan outside of the exchange which means I won't get the tax credit. Good job Barry. There will now be more uninsured people than when we started.
Submitted by Steve on
After 3+ weeks I finally got my application completed but am stuck on enrollment with a loop on dental coverage which I don't want. We have selected a plan but our insurer can't get to it nor can anyone at healthcare.gov. We have been added to the escalation list twice and have yet to get a call back. We actually had an appointment and were blown off. I developed software for over 30 years and I have never seen a mess like this. Once the system comes back up I am pressing the button for voter registration and changing it to Republican so we can vote this mess out.
Submitted by GINNIE STOUFFER on
System not working still at 11:45 EDT!
Submitted by Diane on
I applied the first week and could not get back into my account. I received a paper application in the mail yesterday. Hmmm ? Paper must be the preferred choice to our government.

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