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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 Ron on
Doing a bad job of making improvements
Submitted by m on
site still has major issues. no one at HC.gov seems to know document requirements for uploading. apparently, the proof of citizenship upload is faulty. Other uploads for verification seem to work fine
Submitted by Victoria on
FYI Other docs do not upload either unless I have them in the wrong format??
Submitted by Rosalind Strong-Finch on
Besides creating an ID for my F/T College student daughter who works only P/T and makes $50-75/ wk, and it not being able to get any further in the process.... (she sees the rather expensive plan options and that's it)...it's been OK. We both have decided to apply via paper and then go from there (i.e. get a call or something from someone of our possible subsidies available in SC)! By the way.... THANK YOU FOR FINALLY REPLACING SOMEBODY THERE WHO'S OBVIOUSLY FALLING SHORT ON THEIR DUTIES, SO TO SAVE SOME OF THE PRES' 2ND TERM! ABOUT TIME!!! WHAT TOOK YOU SOOOOOOO LONG?
Submitted by Keylan on
Find a way to avoid the save and continue when people edit their files. Due to slow loading, it causes the system to lagged
Submitted by Traci on
We are two weeks from the changeover, and I just found out that my application was never submitted to the provider because of a glitch in the system - and it still is not working. It is hung up on the dental portion, and will not allow me to finish my application (even though I already completed all of these steps). I have been calling for two weeks, and today was the first time I heard that my application had never been completed. As of right now, I will no longer have insurance 1/1 - I should have stayed with my old plan.
Submitted by Katie on
This is absolutely the worst designed program I have ever come into contact with. The people that designed this program are completely inept. Anyone capable of designing a program of this magnitude would understand that it should be designed to be smart enough to allow users to edit one line of the application versus the entire portion the question resides in; this is basic programming in this day and age. Even letting the user know that the user name they selected is already in use is a multi-question event. Someone, anyone with basic computer knowledge should have conducted a dry run prior to putting this into mainstream use. It is no wonder this website is such a disaster.
Submitted by Joyce on
I totally agree with you. Having to answer the same questions over and over is horrible. I tried to go back and change something and gave up. I had been kicked off the system 8 times and it would make me go back to the first question of the section I was in, even if I was on the last question when it kicked me off. After 5 hours of trying to get finished with the application I was ready to scream.
Submitted by Steve on
Just told that there's a error on my application that they see "a lot." I now am being advised to delete my completed application and START OVER - which is exactly what this site should do!!!
Submitted by Steve on
I must have filled out the same information on my application 10x so far. No way to edit single information section. After spending an hour each time, I am given a "Verification System Down" error and notifying me that it will be up in "24 hours". I have tried all hours of the day, morning, evening, etc. Always the same result...Verification System Down. I decided to complete my application via phone with the representative. She assured me that since she was entering all the information that it would save it and I wouldn't be caught "in the looping glitch" as she called it. Again, after an hour with a live representative, "Verification System Down" She said, "we're busy today." I bet! I am printing off a paper application. This is ridiculous. I was told I can only mail it. I cannot scan/email or even fax. She said I could personally drive it to KY to hand deliver it. That was actually an option.
Submitted by Patrick on
Chat was completely worthless. I have spent over 15 hours trying to get the website to work, but it constantly comes up with nothing but errors...most of the time at the very end, after I have spent 1 to 2 hours entering information for the umpteenth time. They need to just take the whole website down until it actually works.
Submitted by Howard on
The Healthcare site should probably have a "Bata Version" notice in the header somewhere. We are all testing it-aren't we?
Submitted by Howard on
I went through the process of applying online. My wife and I didn't choose a plan yet, but wanted to get the application done. It went smoothly until I needed to make a change to our projected income the next day. I thought it would be a simple matter of logging in, finding my application, selecting an edit income button, make the correction, then save. Guess what happened? There is no edit option. I used the chat session for help, then called help at 1-800-318-2596 to be told by both that my application has to be removed then start a new application! Not good programming. Programmers/managers: please add an option that allows people to edit their information before selecting an insurance plan. Why should I have to start over with a new application for a simple edit?
Submitted by Scott on
Now I understand what a lot of people are complaining about. This could be the worst on line system I have ever used. I applied on line twice and electronically signed the application. Then I tried to pull up by Application ID, both times it shows up as: Sorry, we weren't able to find your application. So then I called in and spent an hour going thru the application with a representative. I completed that but could not get my 18 year old son covered under our family plan. My 20 year old son could be covered but the system said my 18 year old dependent son was eligible for NJ Family Care. The funny thing is he is not eligible, we are over the income cap for a family of four. So now I am in an endless loop waiting for healthcare.gov to send my son's informations to NJ Family Care for them to tell us he is not eligible. Then we have to mail the denial to healthcare.gov (because they don't have a way to submit the form thru the web site or to e-mail the form), plus there is no address listed on their web site. Then I have to wait more for them to sort it out. So my son is not covered by insurance for 2 months while I wait for the bureaucracy to work and tell me what I want to do in the first place, pay for him to be covered under our family insurance coverage that I signed up for. What if my son needs medical services the next few months? Its really a great system that was set up. There is no way to handle anything but the plainest vanilla of situations. Oh, the kicker is when I log back into the web site and try to look at our application and our coverages it agains says "Sorry, we weren't able to find your application. Please try again." How many times do we have to keep trying with this garbage process, not to mention the 20 hours plus I have spent on this. Plus our insurance broker could not help us at all to enroll thru health.gov or as it should be know as healthbureaucrazy.gov
Submitted by Phil on
Someone isn't telling the truth! Who are these people that allegedly has gotten coverage? I have been trying for over 8 weeks without success. I'm still waiting on a promised call from another specialist for the twentieth??? time. My High Risk wife's policy is being cancelled and we have continuously been kicked to Medicaid, but Medicaid has rightly denied our family because of total family income. Stacy English is correct! FIX YOUR CALCULATORS! How can we purchase insurance when the system locks us out by kicking us to Medicaid?
Submitted by Bob Ellott on
Where do I get a Hardship Exemption?
Submitted by Wayne on
I cannot get past the login screen. I get not error message; I just get returned to the login screen. I got my password reset, but the same thing is happening. I keep getting told by the help desk that the site is busy, but I have tried many times at all hours and the same thing happens. If the programmers, could just tell me the site is busy or anything! then I would be happy.
Submitted by Stacy English on
PLEASE FIX YOUR SUBSIDY CALCULATOR. I am an agent and try to submit about 10 applications a day. So far we have not been able to write even one single family. When we put in that a 5 year old has a $0 income, it says they should be on Medicaid. That is NOT correct. If the household income for a family of 3 is $30,000, they should all get a subsidy... not just the parents. YOUR CALCULATOR NEEDS TO BE RESET TO USE A HOUSEHOLD INCOME AND NOT AN INDIVIDUAL INCOME. UNTIL THIS HAPPENS NO FAMILIES WILL BE ABLE TO BUY INSURANCE THROUGH YOUR WEBSITE. We have turned in dozens of appeals (as suggested by your customer service agents and have not heard back on a single one of them.) Please help by fixing your calculator to show household (and not individual) income. Thank you.
Submitted by Danie on
My old insurance was canceled because of Obamacare. I tried to sign up on Oct 1 but it was hopeless so I gave up. Tried again today (Dec 5) and the website would not even allow me to create a password. I cannot even get past the basic entry point that every other website does with ease. This website is a massive failure.
Submitted by Patrice on
I signed up on Nov 23. Only took 22 minutes. However, the tax credits were not applied. I waited until today to see if I could get it working, called the 800 number. No luck. I tried to use the HUGE red button to delete the coverage but it wouldn't delete. The nice fellow on the phone couldn't delete it either. I know that I qualify for the tax credits from a math standpoint.
Submitted by KATHLEEN on
GET THE "TERMINATE COVERAGE" BUTTON FIXED!!!!! I HAVE BEEN PRESSING IT FOR A MONTH, AND ALL IT DOES IS SPIN AND GO NOWHERE MY FIRST INSURANCE CHOICE HAS TOLD ME IT NEVER RECEIVED THE INFORMATION FOR ENROLLMENT FROM HEALTHCARE.GOV.
Submitted by John on
I did my application over the phone in mid Nov because I was having so much trouble on the website earlier. I was told by the phone rep that I would get a letter in the mail in 2 weeks. I called today because I didn't receive the letter. Now they telling me they can't find my application and that their is a known problem that exist where their system can lose your information. So now I have to start over!!! I decide to try to do it online instead of over the phone. When I get to the end of the application online it say's "the verification system is unavailable" to try back at another time and that might application is not complete until the verification system completes. So now it is my burden to keep checking back and to try again even though it is their issue. The theme of my experience is roadblock after roadblock. Why set-up a deadline for healthcare coverage before you have a working systems? Very frustrating and not happy how my tax dollars are being wasted!
Submitted by Martin on
Finding this comments page was not intuitive. If you want feedback, place a link on the homepage and every page thereafter. After two applications have been initiated, the first one having to be abandoned, the second one is now inaccessible. After irregular glitches since October 1 I finally was able to sign in on October 10. Since then I have tried to complete this process online, through the live chat (six times) and with assistance by phone (4 times). Even the phone contacts are unable to find my application after I have given them every piece of personal information about me except my shoe size. My mailed in information that was requested is lost and was never acknowledged. My attachment to my application in answer to the need for further documentation is apparently lost as well. Now, each time I try to fill out the sign in page, it moves me to a new sign in page. No error message is provided. It is simply a futile exercise. No representative has ever been able to locate my application(s)- two of them - while assisting me on the phone. How many complex sales tasks does Amazon handle in a day? The technology exists to avoid this mayhem. I heard that 5 million people tried to sign up on the first day of the roll-out. Now, the 'fix' is to allow for 50,000 to be online at once. That is spit-in-the-bucket as a solution. Where is the leadership this project needs?
Submitted by Adam on
I have filled out the application on the Heathcare.gov site multiple times, and after the "electronic signature" page, the website sends me back to my login page. The site verifies my identity, but I have not been able to figure out how to go further, shop for plans, etc. This happens every time I try to fill out the application. I have made my Congressman aware of this issue, unfortunately the only assistance that his staff was able to offer was to give the 800 number, a list of local navigators and a paper application.
Submitted by K Martin on
I have called the help line 6 times trying to make change to a completed application. My son got his own insurance. I need to take him off the application before I enroll. The first four times I was told I would get a callback within 5 days. No call back. When I called in again, there was no record of my call. Start over. This happened FOUR TIMES. Fifth time, the call was actually recorded. Another 5 day wait. No callback. Called today, told I had to RE-ESCALATE. ANOTHER 5 DAYS! This is ridiculous. Why can't I just go into the application myself and make this simple change??? Why can't I just be escalated to the Advanced Resolution Team IMMEDIATELY????? This is beyond frustrating. At this rate I will miss the deadline even though I started almost two months ago. I cannot believe how bad this system is. This is the simplest of changes. I cannot do anything further. UNBELIEVABLE!

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