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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 Brandon on
I have been waiting for 5 weeks to have my identity verified. I have uploaded my US Passport. I have called in on 6 different occasions. On 3 different straight occasions I have been told that they would “escalate” my problem and someone would call me back within 3-5 business days. No one ever calls me back. I was told last week that if no one called me back this time, that they would immediately escalate my call when I called in. Guess what? No one called and I was NOT escalated. I was simply told that someone would call me back within 3 – 5 days…again today. I can’t call Experian direct because I only have an application ID. Experian needs a reference number or code. I can’t get one from the system because after 5 weeks the system still says that my identity is being verified. I need help. Does Anyone know who can I contact to get help today????
Submitted by Rush on
Listen to ME
Submitted by Mitt on
I can help.
Submitted by Richard on
I have been trying to complete an insurance purchase since October 1st. It is now November 18th and here in Illinois, this thing is still not working. Have used the phone application, where agents see the same problems I see, preventing completion. Have been told several times problems will be escalated. With 130 days left, not sure an application can actually be completed using this system.
Submitted by Peter on
I had trouble setting up my account so I applied by phone. 3 weeks later I finally setup an account and had my application linked to the account. I received an email message that I have a message pending on my count and a link to log on. I logged on there is no message indicator on my account. I called the help line and like always they told me it's a technical issue and I have to wait. This is frustrating to say the least. I have been trying for over a month and don't really feel I have made any progress.
Submitted by Amanda on
Debbie, this happened to me too. I did the live chat and they were no help. They said I needed an "advanced solution" and that someone would call me in 2 to 5 business days to help me make that change. Really? All I want to do is remove dependents from my pre-enrollment application!
Submitted by Debbie on
When will "report a life change " be active? The webpage states come back Nov.15 and it will be active, but still no luck. I can't make an insurance plan choice until I can make some changes to my application.
Submitted by Maura on
I had a data duplication on household members and did not find a way to correct this (deletion of duplicated data). I used the live chat to ask for help and I was suggested to either submit a paper application or call to the toll free number. It is not clear on how this correction can be performed.
Submitted by Fern on
My husband and I are healthy adults trying very hard to sign up and buy health insurance since Oct. 1. The website still freezes on our application, and the people at the 800 help number can't do anything except tell us to try again in a few days. This is why your sign up numbers are down. People like us, who want to sign up simply can't find a way to do so. I don't know what to do. Just wait I guess.
Submitted by Robert on
how can one delete extra dependents, makes it look like there are 4 instead of two.
Submitted by Rick on
As of today, Nov 14th I am still experiencing the following problems and was hoping you could include them in your list of open problem logs and get them fixed. • Doesn’t store some key data in proper fields based on answers given to questions. Home address and phone type (home or cell) • Forces me to navigate through all screens if I need to modify any data previously entered • After having answered ethnic questions, still asked a question on another screen about possible Indian tribe affiliation even though answers to ethic questions have already determined not a native American Indian. • Get all the way to end and it says need to verify identity, but profile shows identity has been verified. • After entering home address and hitting enter, screen presented that asks to pick correct address with only difference being 9 digit Zip code. Although this makes sense and is not a problem, when you go back through the screens if you need to edit something, you see a radio button that is ticked no for correct home address. • On spouse asked to pick which address out of three is correct, but two are identical and happen to be correct
Submitted by Cynthia on
My insurance was 138.00. I receive a letter from Blue Cross and Blue shield starting January 1,2014 that my insurance is going up 250.00. I can't pay that. I stop working 9 years ago to take care of my disable son. My husband can't afford the family plan on his job. We have 2 other kids beside my son. I want to know can I get help. Because once again am be without health insurance.
Submitted by Craig on
Why can't we use the insurance plan web sites, other web vendors or other ways to get these applications in to you? No wrong access isn't true. If it were we these applications would be in and we would be verifying info in other ways. I can look at a drivers license or state ID. Wouldn't it make sense to get people enrolled. Data matches work well once the information is available. I am trying to work hard for my clients financial well being. If fraud occurs prosecute it but please get the ID process and things that have nothing to do with coverage out of the way!
Submitted by Ron on
In responses to complaints about the system, consider mentioning the current state of online pharmacies. I just read a thread where consumers complained about ongoing problems with purchasing their medications, from major pharmacy retailers. These private companies have been trying to deploy successful web interfaces and automated processes, and have only succeeded minimally. Their systems have been deployed since about the turn of the century, 10 to 15 years ago! Obamacare was just passed, as a contested law, in 2010, 3 years and 7 months ago. Then it was deemed constitutional by the US Supreme Court in 2012, about 16 months ago. Of course there would be trouble with a rollout completed in such a short time, relative to normal systems development, for a system with such a rich list of features included.
Submitted by brian on
have submitted my application, however, eligibility page says it has been processed and i am ready to receive my eligibility info, but nothing shows up, and then it says my application is not complete and then the site says it is shut down, very unhappy.
Submitted by Chris on
"Doing better". Really? Stop worrying about writing misleading press releases and fix the "view eligibility results " link. When I call I get no help and for three weeks the link confines to be dead. Not doing better in any way for me. And time is ticking. My insurance company has cancelled my insurance at the end of December. Come on man.
Submitted by Carol on
I have tried numerous times to reenter my husband's SS# as I made an error. The site will not allow me to enter the right #. It just brings the error back in the space. There is not an edit sign by that box. Please let me know what to do...
Submitted by martin on
i received an email 2 days ago announcing Success! Your healthcare.gov account has been created. This afternoon, i tried to log in using my userid and password for the first time, Tried 3 times; same error message each time : "Error unmarshalling request"; I'm unable to log in. My partner logged in successfully, so it is not a connectivity problem. It is not a problem with me forgetting and/or mistyping my userid and/or password - believe me, I know this. I am retired from over 35 years in the software development, software quality assurance, and systems consulting business. The managers who are putting amateur java programmers on this healthcare.gov site need to be fired. It is totally unacceptable to display an error message such as this from a Javascript process on a form that is displayed to the non-technical customer. Furthermore, it is the height of thoughtless design to not include a message informing the viewer what to do as a result of any error. Shame on these people. This is one more technical problem in a three-ring circus of astonishingly bad system development and implementation practices. Perhaps someone could educate the management of the development company on the subject of software quality assurance (which, to those who may not be familiar, places a lot of focus on TESTING. What a novel concept).
Submitted by Rick on
It is still a mess.. I got the account set up, Eligibility confirmed, Plan picked out, now am stuck at the enrollment check list.. It wants me to pick a plan for my wife and I, which I did, now it wants me to pick a plan for myself alone, and won't advance the process until I do. Goofy. I was excited because the help desk moved me to the "advanced resolution center" wow, I was being moved to the tech pros. Got the pros who informed me they don't yet have the power to edit forms, but would put me on a list for call back. When will I get this call back I asked, will it be in time to sign up by 12/15? The have no idea. So far another frustrating session.
Submitted by Linda on
I'm all for the ACA, but I've encountered a number of problems: - I started an application erroniously for my daughter and want to delete it which doesn't seem possible. -I have submitted my new application at least 5 times and each time it says that my identity is verified and then when I log in again later, it presents me with an incomplete application containing wrong information that I never input in the first place and which I can't edit. I fill in the information that was "lost" and resubmit and land up back in the same place. - Finally I received an email telling me that I have received a message. Where? Nothing has changed when I log in and there is no link to a message. Just the same old "incomplete" application. I'll just keep on waiting.
Submitted by McKenzie on
Thank you thank you THANK YOU for your HARD WORK! As an insurance agent and small business owner, I am elated that people will no longer be turned down for coverage. The healthcare.gov website issues are no worse than issues that insurance agents and companies face all the time. We know you will overcome this hurdle. In the meantime, we don't mind filling out paper applications. We've been filling out paper applications for insurance companies like Anthem all along! THANK YOU, McKenzie
Submitted by amanda on
we finally complete application and cannot set questions about the household which is necesary in order to enroll in health coverage. please fix this
Submitted by amanda on
I made a simple mistake on my zip code was not given any option to altar that mistake from my intial "contact info.". when showed a summary of my name and address I chose the edit option and at no point could I simply fix my zip code error. if there is way for to fix this so i can altar my own info. I'm sure I could do the rest by myself, and not need someones paid assistance.
Submitted by Amanda on
when consumers are recieving the results saying able to have medicaid, the box next to that states medicaid will sent you more information concerning coverage.. two pages down from that in fine print says consumer needs to get ahold of the local medicaid agency with in 10 days.. this is a mixed message. please help make these requirements less confusing for Our consumers. Thank you
Submitted by Michelle on
IDENTITY VERIFICATION - if you are getting a prompt saying "you have a notice about identity verification" it is because you started your application too early for the website to do this (WTF?). Here is the answer I got after multiple attempts: Make a copy of your Driver's license or a picture id OR a copy of 2 pieces of identifying information that does not have a picture and mail the COPY to: Health Insurance Market Place Dept of HHS - 465 Industrial Blvd - London, Kentucky 40750 - INCLUDE YOUR APPLICATION ID #. They are supposed to send a paper response that verifies your id and will unlock your application so that you can proceed to find your eligibility and shop. Kudos to KEITH! WHO GOT ME THIS ANSWER! He is the 7th representative that I talked with - without including the 4 that I chatted with and the 4 calls I made to Experian. How is it that he can get an answer from his superiors and the other people cannot? BECAUSE HE ASKED. Whoever is putting untrained people on the phone and chat lines and wasting our time should be fired. Followed by those who do not care to find out the answers to our questions.