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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 Alison on
I sent ID copies to the address listed, in Kentucky. Haven't got anything back. How long should I wait ?
Submitted by Paul on
Good luck with that. I send my documentation to that address weeks ago and have heard nothing! I have lost ount of the number of representatives I have spoken to. None can even give me a phone number at that office to follow up.
Submitted by Trained on
Ellen, there are real live people sorting through all of those and they are far behind as a result. In fact, for anyone who submitted an application by phone in the first two weeks of October: Be patient. Your application will take longer but it has not been lost and you do not need to complete a new one. Now, if you did not include your phone number or email address on the application, then the representatives would have no way to notify you if you did need to complete a new one so may want to try to remember if you did or not. If you completed an online application in that time frame and have not heard back, just create a new account with a new username (possibly new email) and try again.
Submitted by Ellen on
I sent identity proof twice already and haven't received an answer. They tell me that it takes about 2 weeks, but it has been over a month.
Submitted by Barbara on
It wouldn't let us in to make an account to get started.
Submitted by Lisa on
If you are truly committed to providing affordable healthcare, why is catastrophic insurance not available to everyone? For a person in good health that is clearly the best option; yet it's only available to people under 30 or people with financial hardship exemptions.
Submitted by ron on
Probably because too many subscribers to Catastrophic Plans can't really afford to pay their share of medical expenses, should they need much medical treatment. So despite having paid premiums, if they won't pay the provider, the costs become a burden to the provider. For those who can afford normal premiums, everyone is served better if more revenue comes in, and if everyone seeks healthcare instead of avoiding illness for fear of financial hardships.
Submitted by Kristi on
My employer has changed my current healthcare plan. Now I have to pay double what I was paying to keep close to the same coverage. I have to make my employer healthcare election by November 27th, or I will not have coverage. So I have been going on healthcare.gov and the farthest I have gotten is to get a username and password. The page always can't be displayed. This whole experience has been a continual nightmare. And I am not happy to use the calculator and find out that if my employer did not offer healthcare, I would qualify for a subsidy. Even with my employer contributing $9500.00, I am still paying $15000.00 a year for less coverage then I had for my family,
Submitted by David on
No success in logging in for the past 10 Days plus. Log in goes blank 3-4 seconds after you submit. I have received call from MP Insurance and advised they were processing application and from that point, you could make provider selection.
Submitted by Frustrated on
You have to approve before you publish? What no more free speech? We can't help but to be frustrated! Just TRY to put your self in our shoes. Had quality affordable health care, can't afford obama care and beyond discussed that obama keeps throwing money at this disaster of a web site and at this disaster of an attempt at health insurance. Come January 1st 2014 my medical bills will be sent to the white house let obama figure out who owes who and who gets paid what.
Submitted by An American on
YOUR WORDS: 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. ARE YOU HEARING THE STORIES OF THE THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS OF AMERICANS LOOSING HEALTH INSURANCE FOR THE FIRST TIME?
Submitted by Ruth Hladnick on
I have been trying to sign up for the affordable health care. On 11/7/13 I finally got through to the number provided. I signed up by phone or so I was told. I was told I would receive confirmation and a list of health insurance for my choice. It has been 3 weeks and nothing. I am wanting new health care but so far it has not worked. I am very disappointed in my government. If I worked the way this program has worked I would not have a job. I know I could have done better if I worked with this program.
Submitted by Lost on
Is any one else freaking out because they keep loosing personal information like our social security numbers? They tell you to check your inbox check your spam... where in the world and to whom in the world is all our personal information being sent?
Submitted by Lori on
Quality and affordable are certainly NOT words I would EVER use to describe obama care. Now my old "substandard" policy as obama called it, now it was quality and affordable. Oh the good old days when I was the one balancing my check book.
Submitted by Maureen on
my nephews 21 he knows nothing about this, what are your plans to communicate to that age group to get them on board. I understand this plan will only work if we have the young adults getting the insurance as well.
Submitted by KC on
I filled out an application 3 weeks ago. My eligibility document came back with zeros in all the amount areas because it said that "more information was needed." It stated I needed proof of my 2014 income WHICH I OBVIOUSLY HAVEN'T MADE YET. I called and the rep told me to send in my 2012 taxes, which I mailed (but don't have much faith that they will make it to where they need to go). In the meantime my husband tried to do an application for us and the system duplicated our daughters so instead of 2 daughters on the application it looks like we have 4 children and there is no way to delete the application and start over. You are just in a continual loop. There needs to be a way to delete an application that hasn't been submitted so you can start over. Actually, can we just delete the website and start over?
Submitted by David on
I have attempted multiple times to use healthcare.gov. Today I got the farthest. The site told me I could not use the site because My wife and I file our taxes separately. So I will have to pay a fine to the IRS because I did not comply with the law that I have to have insurance that has features a 57 year old man could not possibly use, even though the site itself specifically precludes me from purchasing insurance. Technical problems seem the least of the site's issues. It is a shame, because improved access and delivery of health care would be a great boon to the nation. this effort seems completely incapable of delivering improved access though.
Submitted by Amy on
David, just to clarify.. you can only get the Advanced Premium Tax Credit if you and your wife plan to file jointly for the 2014 calendar year (filed in 2015) not anything you have done in the past.. so if you will plan to file jointly you can state that on the app and potentially receive an APTC. If you get the credit and you end up filing separate then you will have to pay back any tax credits you received, so be careful about that.
Submitted by Vanessa on
I have applied over the phone, and on the site. Because of an initial change (had to add on some income I hadn't seen a place to add the first time around) I was told i was eligible for medicaid. When I added, I no longer qualified. Which is lovely as I want to choose insurance in the "marketplace." I have spent, and I am not exaggerating, at least 24 HOURS on the line with reps at the 1-800 number, have been told so many varying things about how to get this done so that I can VIEW my new results, & get to the point where I can choose my coverage. But EVERY time I get to that page, it pulls up my "eligible for medicaid" results from the app before amendment. SO INCREDIBLY DISCOURAGING, especially when you're trying to do the right thing!!
Submitted by Shirley on
I don't know about anyone else, but this has been the most frustrating procedure. It took over a month to finally get my application done, but the site will not let me view results. I utilized the live chat with no success. I was told to call the 800 number and I could apply by phone. The representative knew nothing and was not able to help. You are not given to a supervisor or anyone else, just told to try online again later or call us back later. UNBELIEVABLE!! I need insurance by Jan, 1 and it looks like I will not get it. Calling the 800 number for help is a waste of time.
Submitted by Leslie on
I am currently paying $840 per month insurance premium for a pre-existing condition I no longer have! I will soon run out of $ that I saved for retirement! I've been trying to sign up since Oct 1 but continue to run into problems. When I try to sign into my account I am repeatedly returned to the log in page. At this point I don't even know what plans are offered. I am concerned that this will not be fixed by the end of the year.
Submitted by Marie-Christine on
I cannot get my identity verified. Called Experian with the file number, they cannot "find" me. Uploaded my driving license 2 weeks ago, I am aupposed to get an email, nothing. When I go back to my profile it is telling that I have a message but no place to click to see any message. You have my SS number so why cant you find me??? And my health plan has been cancelled, I cannot wait forever, I dont want to be without insurance. The people on the phone are nice but they cannot help, or they dont know or they read a text, they apologize but that does not help me.
Submitted by Tek on
People complaining should provide detailed info so that IT team trying to debug has the information that can be useful to fix the problem. I'm sure there are many people here with political agenda looking to use this to detract but are only going to hurt their cause more when this eventually gets ironed out. IT issues and non IT issues will be resolved by both parties going forward as oppose to the thinking that it will be rolled back. These people hoping for roll back have been fighting the same battles(pro choice, social security, medicare, public schools,Women's rights,Civil Rights,LGBT rights, separation of state and church etc..). Not going to happen unless they have a lock on all 3 branches of the government and suspend the constitution. Most people in U.S.A. will not let that happen.
Submitted by Greg on
This program is on the verge of falling apart because it was not ready when it was put online. I only want to buy health insurance which I desperately need. these people said the website was safe when the people who wrote the code told them there was a high security risk unless the code was tested first. This should of never went online unless it was safe or the public was told there was high security risk. I feel betrayed by the Obama administration. I don't believe I'll ever be able to buy the insurance I need.
Submitted by Greg on
I am very Pro toward healthcare for all, that being said this site might just change my mind. I have not been able to log in two weeks now. Called got a little help, Called again got some help, Called again got no help. Even set up a new account for the wife and log in with and could not....get the damn thing fixed!