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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 Sledge on
Just curious, why did you not bring in the best and brightest from the very beginning?
Submitted by Bruce on
the national zoo was closed because of the goverment shutdown and the monkeys where not available.
Submitted by Karen on
I have an account on the web site, but am not able to log back into it. I enter my user name and password and the system returns me to the log in page. I checked the info on trouble logging in and selected forgot my user name (as prompted by the system). The system then said it sent me an email, which I never received. I did all the appropriate system checks on my end (undo pop up blockers, etc) but still never got the email. So I am stuck and unable to proceed with the enrollment process.
Submitted by Brian on
I currently pay $289 a month for myself and three daughters with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida. I like our high-deductible plan and want to keep it, as Obama promised that I would be able to. However Blue Cross Blue Shield is discontinuing this plan effective July 1st due to this law. Now since I apparently am just over the threshold for a subsidy, I'm going to have to switch to a new plan that costs three times as much, and that's for a lesser plan than I have now. This is not what Obama promised when he sold us this law. I am NOT going to be able to keep my plan and our rates are going to skyrocket. What am I missing?
Submitted by Suzanne on
I am employed as a Certified Application Counselor in Scranton, Pennsylvania and I have not been able to successfully assist the approximately 50 people that visited me looking for assistance. I created an account for myself prior to October 1st to walk myself through the system and have not been able to successfully log in since October 1st. Needless to say, I am as frustrated as the consumers who visited me are. I hope the log in situation is fixed soon.
Submitted by Sue on
In today's age of technology why are there so many problems with this website? Many large private companies do large numbers of volume on their websites. We are using our tax dollars for what?
Submitted by Fred O'Brien on
If you would have put it out for bid to an American company, instead of using the Obama normal method of kickbacks and bribes, you could have had it working from day one with less than half the cost. This administration makes Jimmy Carter look good!
Submitted by Debbie on
If you have no job and are paying for insurance you cant afford,will this be good for me to sign for and cancel my 170.00 dollar a month insurance,that has a $5,000 deductible?I plan to see my Bluecross agent to see if I qualify for a subsidies.Thanks
Submitted by Sue on
In today's age of technology why are there so many problems with this website? Many large private companies do large numbers of volume on their websites. We are using our tax dollars for what?
Submitted by Ken on
I've tried the site about every day for three weeks and got in once for an abbreviated time. Consider using a network already built, like Blue Cross Blue Shield or Amazon. Tweaking an existing system might be a better solution than your approach, as least initially.
Submitted by Bruce on
Curious why the Privacy Policy for this page of the U.S. government site states "We are bound by the strict rules of Belgian and European data protection legislation." Are you not bound by any US data protection policies?
Submitted by Mac on
My question is, who is going to be responsible for this catastrophic roll out of this bull^%$# program? First let me say, the president attacked Mitt Romney during his campaign saying he would ship jobs overseas. Yet here he is gave the contract for the web development to a canadian company who in turn used 10 year old tech data. Was there any quality inspection or government oversight on this project as there is on any military contract. The way it looks, the answer is NO, or the people assigned oversight were completely incompetent. How can our government who touted this program for over 3 years screw it up this immensely? I will tell you how, for years our government every time they go into sometime of business venture they screw it up. Example: In the 90's they took over the mustang ranch in Nevada for tax evasion. They lost millions, now only the government has the ability to lose money on a whore house.
Submitted by Caroline on
I am an assister at the Job Center located in Janesville, WI. I would like any information that you can e-mail to me that would assist me in preparing the community for the information needed and the direction they will navigate, depending on their helthcare needs. My e-mail here is [email address withheld for privacy]. Thank you, Caroline
Submitted by Bill on
I have tried to create an account many times over the past two weeks. I keep getting the message, Cannot create your account at this time, please try again later. I tried late at night, early morning, lunchtime, rush hour, no time works. Tried calling in yesterday and was told Sorry, keep trying. I'm going to try creating the account by telephone now. Keep working. The Republicans are using these issues to try and destroy the whole program and that would be a great shame.
Submitted by Dave on
After 10 days and several attempts to establish an account, reality has set in: this administration has been 'blowing smoke up my butt' about how wonderful this ACA is going to be. Our senior citizens have lived in better times that I can ever expect, yet I am 'required' to pay a significant portion of their healthcare costs. WHO is going to pay a portion of mine, when I attain that position? Thanks, but the 'TAX' is looking mighty attractive!
Submitted by Keven on
The greatest problem for me, and I have a very long list, on this site is, has been and remains the simple fact that it is impossible to be verified. For whatever reason(s) you don't send the data to that horrible company which is supposed to verify that I exist. Because that is your sole source to verify me and because they are awful at doing their work, I am stuck in Limbo. I can't be verified, I can't sign up and Wyoming's government has fought this so hard there are no resources to help me here. You really need to focus on this single source of verification problem. It is a major, total, complete disaster. Uploading does not work. If I were to send in my documents by snail-mail, not only would it take weeks, but guess who you then send those documents to - the same company which says I don't exist to begin with. Come February 15, I will be without health care and fined, all because your site is a total disaster. Please fix it. I'm a yellow-dog Democrat, supported and needed this and fought hard with friends to get them to vote for President Obama so we could get it. Was this sabotage? What you are calling 'issues' and 'glitches' is, quite honestly, the worst code I've seen on a working site in decades. Please, fix it. Soon. If you don't, those people who aren't desperate will leave and the Republicans will have won.
Submitted by Jan on
I have been trying to create a new account for three weeks now. I have completed an application by phone, have a reference id number for it and have received an email from you indicating what my subsidies would be. However, I have not been able to access the email because I can't log on to your website. I have tried multiple times and at different times of the day. I continue to get an error message stating the my name, etc. and email address are invalid which is crazy. I am ready to sign up for an insurance plan this week and this should be the ultimate goal of your organization. But, I, like many others am so frustrated that these problems have not been corrected. I completed an phone order for someone from your resolution dept. to call me no later than today to get my password reset so that I can move forward with this process. These are basic computer functions - creating passwords, changing passwords, etc. and it seems that you can't get it right! I expect someone to contact me today (your 48 hours is up today) at [phone number withheld for privacy] to enable me to get into the website and continue to do so once I have created a new account. I set up one early in September but it appears that that information has been deleted during some of your fixes. Help!
Submitted by John on
The problem is not the health exchange software but the US civil service where longevity is rewarded and few are terminated for poor performance. Obama needs the support of unions, so civil service reform (the real issue) is not on the table nor will ever be as long as the Democrats are in power.
Submitted by Eleanor on
I am from KY and it appears that our site is doing well. I wanted to make a small suggestion that perhaps has been offered already. I suggest that you consider getting expertise from the video game industry. My daughter works as a game designer for Electronic Artists. I have been impressed with the resources they bring to bear at the time of launching a new game including global and continuous surveillance of the site to ensure that individuals can log onto the games and immediate intervention when a hitch is found.
Submitted by dave on
The same people who caused the problem are now going to fix it? Sh-t in, sh-t out.
Submitted by Chris on
Warn Barry that if he refers to citizens as "CONSUMERS" in his PR stunt speech today, someone might throw a shoe at him
Submitted by Jim on
We have 3 adults that live at our house and only one computer that we share to cut cost with one e-mail address and have trouble trying to enroll. People are not born with internet it cost money to have it. System for enrollment needs to be more flexible.
Submitted by Michael on
Call Adobe for crying out loud. WIth fill-able forms, you could have a viable site up and runing in days!
Submitted by Dave on
I worked in (much smaller) computer system "startups" for 3-4 decades & have experienced many issues in those launches. My best advice is: (#1) Stop the bleeding & shutdown the system. Also, give folks directly involved in this failed startup, a week of vacation because they need it. (#2) Identify the major show stoppers (problems). (#3) Fix/debug these major issues. (#4) Test & debug until you're confident the basic system is wholesome. (#5) Launch a "limited" portion of the system & tweak that until it works relatively well. (#6) Start putting additional segments on-line until you have a complete & working system. Lastly, computers don't understand pride nor politics. It's time to discard both of these & face reality. GOOD LUCK
Submitted by Anonymous on
Sooooo.... You can't even get a website to function and you want people to trust you with their lives? Good luck with that.

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