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

Doing Better: Making Improvements to HealthCare.gov

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Over the past two and a half weeks, millions of Americans visited HealthCare.gov to look at their new health care options under the Affordable Care Act. In that time, nearly half a million applications for coverage have been submitted from across the nation. This tremendous interest – with over 19 million unique visits to date to HealthCare.gov– confirms that the American people are looking for quality, affordable health coverage, and want to find it online.

Unfortunately, the experience on HealthCare.gov has been frustrating for many Americans.  Some have had trouble creating accounts and logging in to the site, while others have received confusing error messages, or had to wait for slow page loads or forms that failed to respond in a timely fashion. The initial consumer experience of HealthCare.gov has not lived up to the expectations of the American people. We are committed to doing better. 

Aside from the difficulties since launching the site, there are parts of the overall system that have proved up to the task.  The “Data Hub,” component, which provides HealthCare.gov with information that aids in determining eligibility for qualified health plans, is working.  Individuals have been able to verify their eligibility for credits, enabling them to shop for and enroll in low or even no-cost health plans.

WHAT HAPPENED – WHAT WE ARE WORKING ON

Since launch, when we first recognized these issues, we have been working around the clock to make improvements.  We have updated the site several times with new code that includes bug fixes that have greatly improved the HealthCare.gov experience. The initial wave of interest stressed the account service, resulting in many consumers experiencing trouble signing up, while those that were able to sign up sometimes had problems logging in.

In response, we have made a number of improvements to the account service.  Initially, we implemented a virtual “waiting room,” but many found this experience to be confusing.  We continued to add more capacity in order to meet demand and execute software fixes to address the sign up and log in issues, stabilizing those parts of the service and allowing us to remove the virtual “waiting room.”  Today, more and more individuals are successfully creating accounts, logging in, and moving on to apply for coverage and shop for plans.  We're proud of these quick improvements, but we know there's still more work to be done. We will continue to conduct regular maintenance nearly every night to improve the experience.

TECH SURGE

To ensure that we make swift progress, and that the consumer experience continues to improve, our team has called in additional help to solve some of the more complex technical issues we are encountering.

Our team is bringing in some of the best and brightest from both inside and outside government to scrub in with the team and help improve HealthCare.gov.  We're also putting in place tools and processes to aggressively monitor and identify parts of HealthCare.gov where individuals are encountering errors or having difficulty using the site, so we can prioritize and fix them.  We are also defining new test processes to prevent new issues from cropping up as we improve the overall service and deploying fixes to the site during off-peak hours on a regular basis.

Most importantly, we want to hear from you, and make sure that your experience with HealthCare.gov is a positive one.  If you have any comments, either complimentary or critical, please let us know by sharing your feedback at https://www.healthcare.gov/connect/.  We've already heard so many stories of individuals getting health insurance for the first time, and we are dedicated to making that possible for all Americans.

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Comments

Submitted by herman on
due to healthcare. gov... insurance co. want to double premiums one of my children pay and add a six thousand dollard deductible... all i see happening is an astrominical raise fer insurance companies fees
Submitted by wendy on
I was on hold for 3 hours after being transferred to the area that was suppose to help me...then disconnected!!!!! all this after i was called and told i could call in if i still needed coverage.
Submitted by Shirley on
I had to have the Secured Area work on my App. After they worked on it, I don"t have my Subcity now. They said they have 30 days to contact me to get it fixed out, but by then I will not have Insurance. It has been 3 weeks and no call yet.
Submitted by Jane on
Customer Service Reps: Please don't send consumers to local navigators if you cannot answer questions related to application problems. We realize you don't have a HELP DESK/IT Department, but Reps should not send consumers to In-Person Assisters because there is an Error ID in their application. They need to be advised to REMOVE the application and start a new one. This is not a practice being followed and only increases the level of work for Navigators who are already overwhelmed by the number of consumers we are trying to help apply for and enroll in QHP's. Thank You. Navigator - Central Florida
Submitted by Maria on
I would like to offer a compliment and ask that an employee with healthcare.gov be recognized for her patience and assistance. After hearing various misinformation from my health insurance Karen Brown spent an hour explaining coverage options and helping me to re-enroll. She had good cheer and readily answered any questions I had. Previously, I had a frustrating experience with healthcare.gov, and I appreciate Ms. Brown's willingness to resolve the matter fully.
Submitted by Mary on
I have submitted numerous applications for insurance. The first one was last year in October for myself. After waiting two months and calling I found out it wasn't processed. I then did a verbal over the phone in November and I might have qualified for Medicaid. I waited another month called and was told it was submitted to Medicaid. Called Medicaid they don't have anything! In the meantime I am unable to log into any accounts over the internet? Left numerous messages and months later no return calls and still no health insurance. I am very frustrated, this is a very horrible experience.
Submitted by Terry on
I tried to Apply for healthcare on the website in Jan 2014. I couldn't finish because they said there computers froze. Feb 3 2014, I finally finish the application and they ask at the end if I would like to submit payment, and I did. I had it debit out of my checking account. Well after 2 weeks of going to the mailbox NO INSURANCE. I call and they said they don't know where my money went. It says Highmark on my bank statement. Highmark say they never received my application or payment. I have many hours invested in this. Call numerous times to be told I have to wait for the higher ups to call me, it was in esculation. It is March 18 and sitting here with no insurance and my money is missing.
Submitted by Anonymous on
We are trying to determine what assistance is available for newly unemployed who have to sign up for health insurance for the March 15, 2014 deadline? Can you please provide some suggestions... Thank You.
Submitted by Alan on
The website hasn't worked for me since I first tried in December. I love the idea and universal health care is definitely worth the effort, but something is terribly wrong with the website. This was at least 50 attempts over the course of the last 2 and a half months. It's a long story (see below) but the short solution is to download, print, fill in the form and snail mail it. If you have trouble with the website, just give up. It is broken. Read on if you want the long story. After a few dozen attempts, I tried the "things to try if you have trouble", clearing cookies, cache, restarting browser, starting a new application. Same problem with the verification system "temporarily down-try again in 24 hours". Tried again every few days for 2 more weeks, but after going through my application clicking and waiting, clicking and waiting, over and over, I saw the same message. It's sad for the people and embarrassing for the government. Anyway, after a phone call where the rep entered my information while I relayed it over the phone, leading to ... no surprise ... the same error, they said to download a form, fill it out and mail it. So, the website is just a huge waste of time, apparently. Going the print and mail route now. Hopefully, this is a more reliable method.
Submitted by Herminia on
Frustrated, frustrated, frustrated. That is exactly how I feel about the whole application experience. Both my husband and I have been trying to complete an application since mid-December, experiencing a slue of problems with the site. I think we've been through them all. Last night I believed I had finally filled out an application with a state marketplace representative and that I would be finally able to see my initial determination letter as to possible eligibility when low and behold...I was wrong!!! When I entered my login in info to see my application and letter, I couldn't. So again, for the umpteenth time I called the 1-800 number and got a representative for my state of N.J.. She proceeds to tell me that my application was not linked to my log in information and that I would have to wait 2 to 3 weeks to receive this initial PDF determination letter via mail. I asked if I could receive this letter via e-mail...NO. Then I ask to speak to her supervisor and then another, and I got nowhere and nothing but "I'm sorry". "I'm sorry" doesn't get me anywhere and my two months of trying to get insurance will turn to three, who knows even four or five. Oh...and I was also advised by the chief supervisor that I had till March 23 to get insurance through the marketplace. Is she kidding me? This Marketplace website is the most fumbled piece of technological garbage I have ever encountered. Maybe if our good President would have given an USA company the opportunity, the chance to created this website I believe we could not have done worse. Next time, Mr. President, keep it made in the good old U.S.A., then we can only blame ourselves!!!
Submitted by Leslie on
A way to remove a duplicate/triplicate ACCOUNT is desperately needed. Some people have duplicate/triplicate accounts because of the early problems with the system. Each of these accounts has a different application associated with it. A consumer is blocked from signing up for a plan because there are multiple applications (each in a different account). Going forward the system needs to be able to block an individual from creating a duplicate account.
Submitted by Disillusioned on
I called in with Questions Oct 1. I finally got to log in Oct 15 and got my password. Waited and logged in again in Nov but the password wouldn't work. Got a new password submitted application. Application became INACTIVE. So I called in again and with help of a navigator got a new document number and resubmitted. The eligibility results said I was eligible for tax credit but said "they needed more time to figure out how much I was eligible for. Called in again and someone finally figured out I needed to submit a letter from my employer about the insurance I buy from them. Submitted employer letter online but no results, so I sent in an appeal with my employers letter and my info and over a month later - no results and my application online has gone INACTIVE again. I'm going to delete them and send in a paper application. To sum up my experience - despair and disillusion. So much effort and time for nothing.
Submitted by James on
This entire process was an experience and complete waste of time. Every time I attempted to apply for coverage, I was told of a glitch in the system. This went on from October 1 to Christmas Eve 2013. Suffice it to say, when I did finally get to apply for coverage, I couldn't see the information and had to have a customer service representative read me the coverage options. That is unacceptable in my book. The easiest part of the process, if you can call it that, was finding out that I did have coverage with my current insurer. Now that I have the coverage, certainly I want to keep it. I could have done without all the hoop jumping to get from point a to point b.
Submitted by Sarah on
James, in the event that you lose coverage with your current insurer or simply change your mind and decide to use the Marketplace again, you will not want to use the same account that you have been using since October 1st. Many of those accounts were corrupted and, when they made the fixes, the corrupted ones were incompatible with the new system. Seeing that you continued to experience errors that should have been fixed months before, your account is probably one of these. Hopefully it won't come down to it but if it does, you'll want to use a different account with a new username, password and email.
Submitted by mareia on
This site is very helpful for every health care person.
Submitted by kerry on
Very frustrated with the eligibility requirements. I'm being required to prove that I'm not incarcerated. I feel this is a great hardship as I need to go to a courthouse over 1000 miles away to obtain the documentation. When I called the customer service number to complain I was unable to file a complaint. I spoke to 3 different individuals and was on the phone 50 minutes. Horrible policy and customer service.
Submitted by tee on
you can get this documentation from any courthouse, it doesn't have to be where you were incarcerated last.
Submitted by Anonymous on
Could the courthouse fax it to you or to like a local H&R Block or something instead so that you don't have to drive all the way out to get that?
Submitted by Tyler on
The Government should require people buy Life Annuities just as they have Health Insurance. We have a <a href="http://fixedannuity4me.com/pending-retirement-crisis/">Pending Retirement Crisis</a> in this country which is just as dangerous as our health care crises! If seniors can not manage their money and create a lifetime income, then how will they pay for Medicare?
Submitted by Anonymous on
wont upload files
Submitted by kg on
the Dental Plan portion of the final Enrollment To Do CheckOff List - is the problem! Picked 'no dental' and then, ANOTHER Dental Plan (optional) box appeared - and won't go away! Now I have two Dental Plan boxes, and neither 'works' so can't complete final Review & Confirm step. Live CHat can't help, the 1-800 people can't help. HELP! Been working on this since 23rd! Will HealthCare. gov send out massive email to all those apps stuck at final page so we'll know when to Log back in and complete? The 1-800 people said just to wait around until glitch fixed - and no use starting a new application, becaise will hit same problem.
Submitted by Victoria on
Our family supported this all the way UNTIL we tried to enroll. We've been lied to by the 800 reps 3 times, incl a so called SUPERVISOR! We finally allowed the supervisor to complete yet another (3rd one) app on the phone. At the end he informed us that we were not eligible for the tax credit because we make too little money which is totally inaccurate since we make $25 K for a family of 2. He told us we could file an appeal. But on our previous app we had everything completed & picked a plan & were told the EXACT amount of credit we would get, but when we tried to review & confirm the site locked up over & over. The rep at that time told us we WERE enrolled & to contact the ins co & ignore what we saw on the site. We called the ins co 3 times & they were extremely helpful & patient, BUT we were NOT enrolled. Now it looks like we will have to start all over w/a paper app, since we now feel that the website & the employees are totally inept! This has been the most frustrating shopping experience we have ever had. Why in the world didn't someone think to allow the ins co to enroll the people directly after they choose a plan from the marketplace? OR why couldn't the paper app be sent electronically or by fax instead of the website? Finally we CANNOT ever view Notices or Eligibility Results? Heads need to roll! If this were a company many people would have been fired! This site is a waste of tax dollars.
Submitted by Aiden Walke on
best site for health care
Submitted by Elona on
What happened to America? MP site does not work properly. People on Live chat do not know anything and trying to get rid of customers by making them to call and finish conversation while client is still typing. No email addresses are provided for help. I emailed my concerns to 'Marketplace@healthcare.gov', but received the answer that email box is not monitored. Unable to upload files. System does not work. No error messages but site does not upload files. Site is not user friendly and do not give the right steps. I waste so much time "fighting" somebody's bad work.Sad, very sad! Where did all American professional went?
Submitted by Mike on
The plan was rolled out without due diligence. As a result, all management involved should be fired. The public responses have been inadequate and misleading. 1. The vendor was not capable or screened properly. 2. Questions could have been anticipated even though this is a dynamic process. 3. The LIVE CHAT and TOLL FREE should never be down. I even had a LIVE CHAT person told me to call TOLL FREE. We are paying for the rude and incompetent response team, as well as implementation. 4. The System and Phone and Live Chat are down again. This is unacceptable.

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