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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.


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.


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.


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 Chris on
having similar problems only it duped one of my dependents 3 extra times. Now I have to fill in the info 4 times and I know that will give a false impression of my dependent status. Still it was unable to complete no matter what I did. I have resubmitted my info countless times with no luck.
Submitted by kim on
Have been trying to apply since day one, after a week called to put application in, since could not on computor, took 2 hours, called back week later, application lost. another application, only took an hour this time. Called back a week later, rep couldnt give me any info,was going to report and have someone call me back last Thursday or Friday. No phone call, one month later, have no ideas what the cost will be.
Submitted by Terry on
As a web developer and CCNA I must say that this web site has been just horrible. It can't verify identity, it won't email me my password reset information and the information was useless. Last week it had two age groups to select your insurance (which I have learned was for a 27 and a 50 year old) and the plans displays only gave the monthly premium. No mention of the deductible, co-pays or co-insurance or the negotiated rates. So not only is the enrollment and information gathering processes all screwed up, it is obvious to me that the UN-affordable Care Act really is a massive oversold government program that is about to screw up everyone's health care.
Submitted by Michelle on
My illegal husband screwed America again and I love it.
Submitted by Dan on
As a web developer I would think you realize that it is unrealistic to expect a project of this size and complexity to work correctly right out of the box. It's hard enough to get a massive software launch up and running – now imagine doing it when a third of the management is rooting for you to fail and doing everything in their power to bring that about. Let's see what December brings.
Submitted by Scott on
I am a person taking care of a child that is not biologically mine. I was never able to receive Medicaid because I am not a relative and I can't afford health insurance. Florida is not expanded there medicaid coverage what do I do now
Submitted by Teri on
when government runs anything, there is waste, fraud, abuse, and incompetency.......the proof is, as they say, "in the pudding", and this pudding is a disaster.....wait until people get to the "main course" of the actual flawed law of obamacare!!.......and yet, the uninformed public will blindly follow their dear leader, eating this poisonous meal because they think it's free..... i stand amazed at how low we have sunk.....
Submitted by Lori on
Quality affordable Health Care Coverage is what I had pre Obama. Post Obama my premium will increase 77% AND I will now have a 60-40 policy instead of an 80-20. Oh and the promise of keeping our policy and doctors if we want - LIE- LIE- LIE! Cancelled due to Obama un-care.
Submitted by Rogelio on
In paragraph 2 (above), you say that "Unfortunately, the experience on HealthCare.gov has been frustrating for many Americans." Well, what about us illegal aliens?? Don't we matter?
Submitted by Barack on
Where do you live Rogelio? We would like to take your application in person.
Submitted by Jesus on
No, go back home.
Submitted by Terry on
I just got off the phone with a lady named Brenda (800 318 2596). She told me she would help me fill out an application on line. I told her that I was unable to log on to the site. I asked about getting the information through the mail. She told me it has to be done on the web site. Also, at the beginning of the call, I agreed to give a survey and was told to stay on the line after the call. I hung on but Brenda asked if I needed anything else. She apparently can't hang up on her end. So.... no feedback until now. Feedback: Very Unhappy!!!
Submitted by Joe on
This site is a joke. I can't imagine needing medical help & dealing with this BS.
Submitted by Rob on
Uggg. Site is never functioning when I try to even get a quote! How can this work when I can't even get past the first phase.
Submitted by Mohammad G Jalilzada on
I get online to create an account without any problem. I am waiting to website fixed for Registration for me my spouse as soon the website work again. I had never health insurance and want to have this affordable health Insurance because plan offer better plan. DO NOT GIVE UP. Wish you good luck!
Submitted by Lynn on
I know you are working hard to fix this mess.Those of us that have tried diligently for a month to access healthcare.gov are slowly giving up hope of finding health care that we can afford.BIG gov.,BIG ins.co.,BIG mess. I want ins. I have done everything right...Help
Submitted by Fred on
Ha! The website is the easy part! If you think this is a mess, just wait until you see the things that are actually, really difficult.
Submitted by Robyn on
Which things are you referrng to?? The website is the government's piece - once you select a plan you'll be working on that insurer's website. Our insurance has bounced around among 4 different companies in the past 5 years (my husband's employer keeps switching what's offered to their employees). We've seen quite a range of websites ranging from BCBS, Neighborhood Health, Aetna - most are difficult to use and they have NOTHING to to with the federal or state government. If you end up unhappy with your insurance plan - trash the insurer, not the government...
Submitted by S. Omara on
There has been speculation recently about whether startup tech companies could have handled the project of creating healthcare.gov more efficiently and more cheaply than the CGI Group. Now, President Obama is reaching out through multiple avenues (like the presidential innovation fellows) to help his technology team, under CTO Todd Park, fix the website. It seems to me like considering startup tech companies for similar projects in the future is a pretty good option, seeing as larger and older companies do not advance as rapidly as startups, and the Internet is a fast-changing place. Doing so has the potential to greatly reduce costs, which would definitely be welcome since the money being spent and re-spent is public.
Submitted by Ron on
Anyone foolish enough to apply for one of these high deductible plans is probably too stupid to realize that the deductibles and co-pays are so high, the insurance will never be used. The premiums paid by the "insured" and subsidized from the public trust, are a huge boon to the health insurance companies... money for nothing. Enrolles will have to pay upwards of $5,000 deductibles before insurance pays a dime. It's robbery.
Submitted by Scott on
Despite creating and ID and Password for healthcare.gov back in August or September, since October 1, each time I entered my ID and Password (at least 10 times a day), the screen just refreshes and brings me back to enter them again. I have tried with Safari, IE and Chrome. And yes, I have deleted cookies, etc. I think it would help immensely if you would publish a list of specific problems you know people are having and let them know when you think those specific problems are fixed so we dont sit here attempting to use the system needlessly.
Submitted by Bob on
I have a pending application, and can log in with no problems, but when I get to the pending application it indicates additional information is required and takes me to a screen that has a NEXT button on a green box in the lower right hand of the screen, when I click next nothing happens. An additional issue is at first I entered an incorrect date of birth and now there is no place to correct it, but I'm still trying.
Submitted by Elsie M. Jarvis on
I have been with out medical insurance for 8 years since I moved from Ohio to Florida and Blue Cross doubled my insurance premium.My husband is a Vietnam Veteran our son has been in the Navy for 20 years.(reason we move to Florida) I was blessed to sign up for the pre-exiting insurance. It will expire Jan.1, 2014.I am only 63, not old enough for Medicare I know you are working as fast as possible to get the websight up and running. Thank you for not forgetting us. God Bless EJ Florida.
Submitted by Vasuki on
Simple Modification to paper forms as explained below, can enable all interested people to easily submit the family or individual application form at the federal healthcare website today. Currently, one of the options on healthcare.gov website is to fill the paper application form manually in pen and mail it. The printable application form in .pdf format can be modified with form fields so that people have the option to fill the .pdf application forms on computers, save, print and submit them online or regular mail. It would be also be easier to process electronically filled paper forms rather than manually filled paper forms. Many federal agencies such as IRS have implemented .pdf forms which can be electronically filled. Also, .pdf application forms should have easier URL like healthcare.gov/forms which is easier to remember and communicate. This modification would immediately allow all interested people to quickly fill and submit .pdf application forms in 10-20 minutes without any hassle or hiccup, since the .pdf application forms are not connected to any live database. This modification can be easily done within few hours today! This can be done in addition to other actions being taken for smoother online filing and live verification process. This would enable all interested people to immediately fill and submit application forms today, instead of waiting till the end of November for the resolution of other intricate problems as reported in newspapers. If more people sign up in early stages, it would quickly bolster public support, stop negative reporting and weaken political opposition to the implementation of Affordable Care Act. Paper Application Form for Health Coverage http://marketplace.cms.gov/getofficialresources/publications-and-articles/marketplace-application-for-family.pdf Instructions to implement electronic filing of PDF Forms http://helpx.adobe.com/acrobat/kb/acrobat-forms-form-data-web.html
Submitted by Anonymous on
It seems to me after looking over the form to mail in, that this could be a huge identity theft concern. The form has you filling out all the information needed for identity thieves to take over and ruin your credit / life. DOB, SSN, Address, gender, phone number.... Anyone looking at envelopes addressed to the health insurance marketplace will have a veritable gold mine of identities to choose from....