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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 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.
Submitted by John on
i am insurance agent also President of Insurance Agency (50+ Insurance Agents plus 30 employees) We have 1000's of customers who want to sign up for health insurance and most will be subsidized. We have tried everyday since 10-1-2013. Maybe 2 applications have been processed. I have spent well over 250K getting ready for the ACA roll-out. My agency has been writing individual and small group insurance for over 25 years. We have marketed the uninsured and lower income. We have held events to get pre-enrollment applications.We just want to help people get the insurance they need. What can you do to help me? [Name and email address withheld for privacy]
Submitted by Sarah on
Tried again today, 10/21/13 and still can not set up an account. I understand and hope this gets fixed before January.
Submitted by James on
I have applied and made an account but when I go to see if I qualify for certain plans when I log in I get a blank screen. I don't know if I save my application and can't compare plans or purchase one because my like I said when I login and it verifies me the next screen is blank
Submitted by Marcia on
I have been trying multiple times daily since Oct 1 and I still have yet to log in. I put in username and password and it just keeps on going back to sign in page. If I put in wrong password, it does reject but when right information is put in, it will not log in.
Submitted by David on
Where are the other responses to this blog located? Are there any others? ex animo davidfarrar
Submitted by David on
With over 19 million 'unique' visits to date, and with so few hits actually being successful, wouldn't it be reasonable to put forward the suggestion that the penalty phase be delayed for at least one year? ex animo davidfarrar
Submitted by tom on
The country was not ready for this-- This was shoved through without real bi-partison consensus--, The doctors are not ready for htis. Hope you get it fixed.
Submitted by John on
"The best and brightest" is an unfortunate choice of words. It is the title of a famous book by David Halberstam about the very, very smart people who got us into Vietnam.
Submitted by Nedra Ball on
Why is it that when the system is unable to process the determination at the time of application, it asks you to come back in 24 hours, why do you have to go through the complete application all over again. shouldn't the system save your previous entries? Also I submitted identy documentation over 2 weeks ago and my documents still have not been processed in my account. How long should this process take. 2. As an agen/broker it would be nice to have a alternate system to enroll clients through, so that we are not in a waiting situation.
Submitted by DAN on
Submitted by jack on
you got stiffed by the company you hired, who saddled you with dated inadequate programs and weak code. sue their asses off, especially for the cost overruns they generated doing this. you CANNOT bring the programs you now have into compliance, you must hire again, and this time find a reputable organization. try polling the tech people at google, ebay, amazon, and other tech giants. you do know that medicare. gov works reasonably well. right. so help the economy and the jobless numbers by hiring more service reps to walk people through, one on one.
Submitted by Dennis on
Please, just admit it. This is a fiasco.
Submitted by Kate on
I've been trying to sign on since the first week, probably every other day. I get the WRONG response that I have input the same answer to two or more security questions. I have tried most of the questions and I've tried in different orders. Almost three weeks have passed. I am a big support of Affordable Care but I am getting fed up. It's embarrassing for you and for all supporters.
Submitted by Jane Loux on
The first two and a half weeks of the the marketplace I attempted to register for it and then to get to the point where I could see what insurance options were available. I am in WI so I assumed that part of the problem came because of the Republican governors doing their best to make it difficult. But, I also learned that the process was flawed and that just getting the sight to recognize who I was once I had registered was a problem. After multiple attempts I finished the registration process, then the sight lost my information through their reorganization process. Finally, I gave up and called the help line. Through a 45 minute process with a live person I was able to successfully complete the registration and was told that in a number of weeks I would receive an email from the marketplace with the health care options that I might have available. I continue to be hopeful that my options will be ones that I will find affordable and useful in my life. I am thankful that finally there might be options for insurance that will not take into account my health history!
Submitted by Melvin Ford on
app. ID 107641598 Once I log in I cannot connect to my app status page unless I use Googlr Chrome. Internet Explorer and Firefox won"t connect. In addition I completed an app over 7 days ago and the status continues to say "in progress". Even though I completed an app the system requires me to start over if I click check status of app. It will not take you back to wheren you left off. If you have the persistence to complete an app the my ptofile page comes up----- but no further info or instructions. No info on what"s next. [email address withheld for privacy].
Submitted by Neil on
I'm still stuck in the identity room ... or whatever it is. This is the first time I've made it this far, but how do I get out of here? I'm a Democrat and love Obamacare, but it's been a challenge. However, I know that there are people out there attacking the site all the time, because I've gotten emails recruiting people to try and stop the website, so it's a battle.
Submitted by wanda charping on
Sebilius must go. Fired. To do this to us is appalling. If she shows her face, people will embarrass her worse than Jon Stewart did. She is not a leader. She must resign and save us the trouble of hounding her out. Why should I pay her salary, her retirement and her healthcare? She should give back any and all money every taken from the people by her.
Submitted by Dale on
I have been waiting for 2 weeks to have my identity validated. I first called the number provided for Experian, talked to a person there answered their questions was told my identity had been verified and the site would be updated in a few hours. Waited 3 days, site wasn't updated but received the message to submit documents to verify my identity. On two separate occasions I uploaded copies of my drivers license. I am still waiting identity verification.
Submitted by Meredith on
ditto, ditto, ditto - what could possibly be so difficult about verifying someyones identity? I have been through the same senerio and have uploaded copies of both my passport and drivers license. This is after entering my SS#, address, etc. etc. So the program dosen't talk to the SSA or the IRS? Incredibile!!!! Maybe Healthcare.gov should seek help from the NSA.
Submitted by julienne bootman on
thank you very much
Submitted by Rex on
You know BUYING insurance is usually about 10 times more pleasant that collecting from the insurance. If that ratio holds, then I shudder to think what the actual results will be in a year.