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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 TMLutas on
Have you people never read The Mythical Man Month? It's the hottest new thing on late software projects. It was originally published in 1975. In case you don't have time here's the key takeaway for you: Adding people to late software projects makes them later.
Submitted by Cal on
Since inception, I've been blocked from creating an account. I tried moments ago, (Oct 21, 2013 at 12:30 EST) and I yet again received "Please note that two or more answers to the security questions cannot be the same. You must provide distinct answers to the chosen security questions." I do not have two security questions the same. Let me repeat, I do not have two security questions the same. I have tried on three browsers, IE and Firefox included, so I know the problem is not at my end.
Submitted by Ethan on
Repeal Obamacare now, that is the real solution. It was rammed through the American people and it needs to be repealed.
Submitted by Sue on
Below is the message I get when I click on the lick to log into my account. I'm not typing the address in, I'm clicking on the link: Info icon The webpage cannot be found HTTP 400 Most likely causes: •There might be a typing error in the address. •If you clicked on a link, it may be out of date. What you can try: Retype the address. Go back to the previous page. Go to and look for the information you want. More information
Submitted by Leslie Charles on
Was able to get my username and password but when I tried to complete an application the following error message displayed: "'https://www.healthcare.gov/marketplace/auth/userprofile' canot be found or is not available." A very nice gentlman named Manual helped me file an application over the telephone, and I am grateful for his help. Manual said the results of my application would be sent to my home address. In the meantime, I sincerely hope HealthCare.gov will become completely operational and evolve into one of the best websites on the Internet. I have a preexisting condition; I am more fourtunate than most as I can still pay the premiums on the group-coverage I had at my last job (I had to take an early retirement in March-2013). It is expensive, but if my previous employer had not allowed this I would be without healthcare and facing the possiblility of huge healthcare costs. Many people who have preexisting conditions, as I do, do not have any option, and as each day goes by I can imagine their frustration and stress. Specifically, being excluded from coverage by organizaitons such as Blue-Cross-Blue-Shield due to their preexisting condiiton. Please get everything working very soon.
Submitted by Unhappy tax payer on
Repeal obamacare!!!!
Submitted by Dave on
Submitted by Robert on
This site is a piece of crap. It is impossible to create an account and looking at the plans is crapy because you only give the cost for two ages and if you are 10 years older then you have no idea what the plan cost is. This feels like a disaster. I really hope I am wrong.
Submitted by George on
You need to do a lot more than better.
Submitted by Donna on
I have been waiting for this for the last four years. Through the Kaiser website I have been able to determine that I will qualify for a tax credit and an idea of what that would be. Through the Premera website I have been able to view plans so have an idea of what is out there. To date, after literally hours of time and visiting the Healthcare website late Alaska time (most of the rest of the country is in bed) I still have not been able to set up an account!!!! I called to fill out an application on the phone and during that process some glitch made it impossible to proceed. So now my application is somewhere in limbo, waiting for an "escalation" team to fix it and it cannot be accessed by anyone until then. I have been waiting five days (it was supposed to happen within 48 hours) to receive a phone call from the "escalation" team. In the meantime I have no way to find out what my actual options are! This has been extremely frustrating because it is indeed the first opportunity I will have to puchase health care insurance instead of just bankruptcy insurance. I appreciate your efforts, but PLEASE let's get this ball rolling. As I said I haven't even been able to set up an account and without that you have no access to anything else.
Submitted by Maria on
You should be able to look at insurance plans and save and come back an enroll. I keep having difficulty getting into my account and was finally able to get as far as reviewing plans. But I went back to make changes and then I guess it times out and then would not let me go into the enrollment section and keeps asking me to apply and then states I have a state account and won't let me go back in and enroll. For the past 2 weeks I never made it this far and tried over 25 times, so it is an improvement, but needs more work. I guess I will try tomorrow, as I am tired. I hope you have a great evening.
Submitted by Carol on
I have been trying to access my eligibility report for two days and I cannot get it to open. When I tried to get assistance from technical help, I could not respond to their questions because my response could not be typed in because the response block disappeared. I am using Mac Safari to do my application. Please help me. I am becoming very frustrated and I should have been able to complete this task in a few minutes....not days.
Submitted by bernadertte on
I have tried for 17 days for to get on this website. I have wasted more time day and night off peak hours and daytime hours. I cannot create an account. This system tells me that my last name, first name and email address are not unique. I have sent for an application but I am concerned that if I quality for tax credits that I still will not be able to apply it to this site. I am losing my health insurance in dec because of Obama care and I am very upset with this system. I see that you have listed the plans and prices on the site, but I still cannot see the benefits or deductible that go with the plans. unacceptable
Submitted by Robby Beamer on
How many people must say they don't want this plan for you to listen.. My rates are going up $400 with this market place garbage.. what is the agenda here?
Submitted by Bill on
"enroll in low or even no-cost health plans" Are you kidding? There is no such thing as "no-cost" health care. Are the hospitals and doctors providing their service for free? Of course not. Those of us who already pay more than our "fair share" will be called on to foot the bill.
Submitted by pedro on
Not only that, wait until people do not pay their deductibles to the hospitals/doctors/clinics and the hospitals start going under....the deductibles are very expensive.
Submitted by Anonymous on
Join what conversation? Comments are hidden.
Submitted by Jim on
I was able to get my account and am working through the process. Dramatic improvement from the first couple of days that the site was opened. I was intrigued by the security of the verification process. Nicely done!
Submitted by SP on
This has been the most frustrating experience that people at 1-800-318-2596 help number cannot even look at the application and cannot tell how long will it take for this application to be accepted? 1. Submitted application for insurance for my mother who is 86 year old, green card holder. Uploaded her State issued ID, SS Card and Green Card more than 1 week ago. Still site has been unable to identify her identity. We have not received any email from Healthcare.gov site informing about identity verification. Application still shows 'In Progress' status. Have not been able to see any available plans yet. 2. Even after filling the application completely, when we access it, it still shows Application Incomplete message. Some fields are NOT getting saved. 3. System did not give any Reference ID which is required to Experian. Now I have no idea how this application going to get to the stage of 'Identity Verified' and application accepted. 4. 1-800-318-2596 Help people are unable to tell how long is the wait for manual review of documents uploaded thru the site. OR they cannot even tell if the documents that I uploaded have been received by HHS. 5. Advance technical Support also was totally unable to tell how long would it take for some one to review the documents or if they have been indeed received in their office. It would have been good to have some high level people who can access the account and ACTUALLY HELP PEOPLE when some one calls with a problem. Other web sites can fix problems right away - why cannot this web site do that?
Submitted by joe on
Why are the deductibles so high? What if I get sick and can't afford to pay my bills? I'm self employed
Submitted by Daniel on
I must say that as a former Microsoft employee and an IT pro with over 25 years experience, I am dumbfounded that HHS leadership allowed this to happen. It is imply inexcusable given the importance of ACA for the citizens of the USA and Obama's legacy. There should have been nothing more important on Sebelius's plate than ensuring a stunning rollout that excited Americans and demonstrated what the US govt could do. Instead, we got this catastrophe. Shame on HHS leadership. Shame. For everyone else in HHS who are working so hard to implement ACA, thank you so much for your hard work. I applaud you and support you. Please know that millions of Americans understand and value your efforts. We depend on you. Again, thank you and your families for your sacrifice. Blessings.
Submitted by Gart on
I can no longer log in using my previous user name and password. This worrys me because I've given some very personal information in order to verify who I am, ie. SS number, drivers license and voter ID. I don't know if I should call in my application or ask for a paper one. One of the worst forms I've ever had to do!!
Submitted by Terri on
My husband and I want to get Obamacare but he is also enrolled in the Veteran Health Plan. Will we still get assistance to lower our premium because of our low income?
Submitted by Angela in AZ on
I have been waiting since October 8th for my identity verification to be processed. In the meantime, my application is in a state of limbo, "in process". The deadline to apply for coverage to start on January 1st is December 1st. Today is October 20th... That is just 41 days away!
Submitted by Greg on
1. It is clear that the website needs to be worked on to help make decisions. It is a bit clunky. The results are in a top-down linear fashion. The results should be tabulated, with a column for the premium, a column for the deductible, color level, etc. Then there should be a tab to be able to sort it at the top, with filters that can narrow it down. 2. For the application process, it is difficult to go back to a portion to edit it. 3. The website has a very linear way of operating. It doesn't allow a user to return to a previous section to edit in a section that they are working. 4. The website seems to get stuck in certain database calls. This needs to be fixed. 5. The website asks some dumb questions, like they asked if my kids are married. Why would this not be assumed for kids less than say 16 years old? They have their birthdates. This question seems it bit icky. 6. They state that Social Security numbers are optional, but are required to apply for insurance. Many other fields state that they are optional, but if there is a field that is empty, that is optional, it complains. 7. When an application is sent to Medicare and Kidcare, I get no response that shows that it has been entered. 8. I was also surprised when it asked if I wanted to register to vote. This seems superfluous to the task at hand. 9. I should be able to go to a section that is checked on the left side to be able to edit information that is already entered. Or there should be an effective navigator to be able to edit sections. This should be in a ribbon on the top or on the side. 10. The entry process is odd. It asks a few basic questions for the applicant in the beginning. Then it asks for how many people applying, of which there is some more basic information requested. Then in other sections it asks for more in depth questions. It should be like this. 1. Ask how many people are applying. 2. Enter all information for the first. Enter all information for the second, etc. 11. The website asks repetitive questions, such as current healthcare information for each dependent. The field is not populated from previous entries (see number 10) 12. There is nothing to say "I don't want it" at the end of process. This will be helpful to the agencies to determine which applications are still open and need attention. 13. There should be a reminder email that sections of the application need to be completed. 14. Although the application was accepted, I did not receive notification via email or text that it has been accepted.