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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 Jay on
According to the local news broadcast here in New Mexico, as of 10/20/13, NOT ONE individual have been able to sign up. Not one! Businesses have been successful because that part of the exchange is being run by the State. But the individual/family section is being handled by the Feds for now. I have been trying since Oct. 1, several times a day and night. Was able to create an account but cannot login. Whenever I do I get a page that says: ERROR - Wed page cannot be found. So much fun.
Submitted by John on
The executive branch's responsibilities now include rationalizing website failures. Just another day in the life of the behemoth boondoggle that ate America. Abomination is the new normal.
Submitted by Tyler on
I was finally able to create an account and received an eligibility notice (was approved). However, I do not have access or cannot find the marketplace. When I click on Get Insurance it logs me out and takes me to the home page. The call center representative could only tell me that there are issues with the site but didn't seem that knowledgeable about what I was experiencing. I want this to work and I hope the solution to this problem is worked out.
Submitted by Paul on
Your analysts need to ask 'why' more often. I only got to the page for step 2 before I quit. I already have health insurance, but I'm a user experience designer and I was curious. I also designed web transactions for an auto insurance company for more than a decade. When I got to the part where it told me my user name needed to have upper and lower case, a number and a special character I quit. Who does that? trying to remember that and an equally complex password is virtually impossible. I'm sure whoever okayed the security requirements thought it was a great idea. Someone should have asked why. I'd be willing to bet that the entire application is a hodgepodge of frustrating little interactions like that. Watch some users use it and strive to make it simpler.
Submitted by Theodora on
I can't get any further than logging in. Unable to see application or any of the plans .Right now I do have insurance under the pre existing policy .Just waiting to get on this system pass login to see my option that everyone keeps talking about..
Submitted by Kim on
I have a home office and am VERY tech savvy. I would like to be able to help in whatever way I can.
Submitted by James on
The pdf with my tax credit amount will not display.
Submitted by Ronnie on
I am apparently not able to purchase insurance on the marketplace. My application submitted on October 4th has been processed but I am unable to review results. I am also unable to submit a new application because you can only do one per state. According to 1-800-318-2596 they cannot help me view my results or do another application and I should try again in 24 hours . During the last 408 hours they could not help me. Do you thing 24 Hours more will make a difference? Not one operator at 1-800-318-2596 has anymore constructive help to give other than try again.
Submitted by Ed on
Obama said. "The prices are good. It is a good deal." I lost mine because of the law. Have to pay a couple hundred more a month (bronze) and all my doctor bills due to a high deductible. I'm middle class and far from rich. That said, can someone in the government please explain the opening statement to me. Please. I serious.
Submitted by phillip on
That is because they do not have to be on there great health plan. We pay for much if not all of there health. If everyone had to be on this great Affordable Health Care Plan then things would be great. Just think.
Submitted by Mike on
The website today is the best I have seen it thus far. But that isn't saying much. I was able to see the policy names and prices, but not much else. It's like a grab bag...you don't know what you are buying. I have overseen a lot of software development work and this is the worst I have ever seen. It was poorly designed, written, tested and deployed. And the post implementation has been equally mismanaged. The problems with the website are wholly management related. This was a very mismanaged project. Let's hope things improve faster.
Submitted by frank on
have attempted to complete the application and enrollment process at least 50 times since oct 1. still can not get the site to cooperate and let me finish. super frustrating and a giant time waster.
Submitted by Patricia on
I was able to finally get through and create an account. However, when I got to the page to choose a plan, a certain number of plans showed up, but when I went to the site to print details of the plan, there appeared to be many more plans that were good in my county than I was initially presented. I am now worried that all of my choices are not showing so I am hesitant to buy any insurance.
Submitted by bill on
spent at least 30 to 40 hours trying to get signed up to no avail. Been told sorry, be patient was even told a specialist would call me back . yeah right that was a week ago. the thing is I had insurance at 178 a month that was better than this crap at 500 a month that the taxpayers will pay for. have been waiting a week for my identity to be verified. sent in 2 times on line and once to the place in Kentucky STILL WAITING. should get rid of ALL the politicians but stupid people will put the same ones back in office. I haven't voted for an incumbent in at least 10 years and its getting worse.
Submitted by Phyllis on
Want to know how long it takes to get the plan info after you apply by phone on 10/3/2013
Submitted by LaneMann on
Too Many Words. You're writing books. I'll help. [Phone number and email address withheld for privacy]
Submitted by Suzanne on
The ACA, or ObamaCare, is working fine. The software is a huge, complicated program. There is no way to completely test something like that before going live. Users have ways of testing it that programmers cannot know beforehand. Every version of windows is buggy and no one calls Bill Gates a failure. The software will be fixed. There is plenty of time for people to sign up and many, many uninsured are happy that will now have insurance. I'm sorry that you have had to deal with the obstruction from the GOP. It is only because they are so afraid that the ACA will be successful. It already has been and will be even more! This is a wonderful benefit for the America people. Thank you for all that you are doing. Great job!
Submitted by Robert on
Just trash it and start over from scratch!
Submitted by TheBrokeTaxpayers on
How much in additional unbudgeted taxpayer funds will this "surge" cost the American taxpayers?
Submitted by Jeremy Amaismeier on
I just tried for about the 30th time to create an account, and I'm still getting "Important: Your account couldn't be created at this time." If the website can't handle something as simple as account creation, how can we expect it to handle things that are so much more complicated?
Submitted by TheBrokeTaxpayers on
How much in additional unbudgeted taxpayer funds will this "surge" cost the American taxpayers?
Submitted by Connie on
I so hope that this works. A number of years ago, I filled for bankruptcy because of emergency surgery when I was unemployed and without insurance. I have not been able to get insurance for several years and have been afraid of another emergency condition.
Submitted by Jane_Doe on
I understand that HHS was the systems integrator for this obamascare website fiasco. After having spent a while doing all levels of testing for ATT on various projects, I would have laughed in HHS face. Having HHS doing systems integration for this is like a brain surgeon doing brain surgery on themselves. So now the brain surgeon killed the patient (himself) and is now whining about it? Huh? Shut the obamacare website down, scrap it entirely, or just throw a few billion dollars into fixes and rewrites to line the pockets of your cronies who bid on this pile of ^&%^%^. Take your pick - you bunch of whiney losers
Submitted by SHIRLEY on
Submitted by Ken on
I believe ACA works but the Web sites are frustrating. As a Systems Engineer of 30+ years I can attribute some problems to load management and other things to over planning the user interface, but there are obvious back-end problems indicating poor design/implementation. The algorithms for network/server traffic control and data flow are well known, indicating that engineers either ignored or intentionally dismissed some basic enterprise design rules - tough to fix. Given Tea GOP confidence in ACA failure, their recent behavior and corporate ties - there is a viable suspicion of sabotage.