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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 Beverly on
In New York and I accessed the website on October 16th. Hit a glitch but I tried again over the next two days and my application was submitted. Many choices to look over and I find I can get health insurance for as little as $60/month with a subsidy. That's terrific! I will need some time to look over all the choices before I choose a plan.
Submitted by Mike on
How many premium payments have been sent in after the visits and applications made?
Submitted by Angela on
Thanks for your hard work! I have already seen improvement in the usability of the site over the last week or so. I did lose my "saved" healthcare plans somehow but I was able to look through it enough previously to get an idea of what I should expect. Your online customer service was AMAZING so thank you for that.
Submitted by Jen on
Are you serious? The online customer service(that I've tried to get help from apps. 20 times) only copy and paste canned responses and then close the chat. I think you're a plant.
Submitted by Maggie on
I have been a vocal supporter of the ACA since it's passage and anxiously anticipated using the Michigan Exchange via healthcare.gov as my family of 4 must find a new policy before our current Aetna policy is eliminated as of 12/31/13. Of note, our current policy was eliminated because of the ACA. I didn't complain even though this is one of the detractors' favorite, now legitimate, complaints about the ACA. Further, we will not qualify for a subsidy, so I expected this process to be relatively simple. I am embarrassed, appalled and angry that we have not been able to even get on to apply at this late date. Excuses will no longer suffice. The site MUST be fixed and fully operational in the next month or a huge number of qualified people must be hired to enroll people like us so that the Admonistration doesn't lose the support of people like my family. FIX IT NOW!!!
Submitted by Ken on
Keep at it. This is a worthy cause. Thus is the one story you will tell your grandchildren about. You may not realize it yet, but you are making history.
Submitted by Robert J on
Put those idiots in the Senate , Congress, and the president into the same plan as we are trying to get into and I bet they would have it fixed in a week. Of course, those elite are exempt because it plan and its creators know the plan sucks!
Submitted by Raul on
Why is the Sec of HHS afraid to testify before Congress and why isn't Congress and WH personnel required to be covered by your worthless system.
Submitted by Emey on
Hundreds of millions spent for a sub par website. Wow
Submitted by ruth smith on
Quit using Windows 7 and go back to your BlackBerries.
Submitted by Stephen on
Need to advertise more widely that we can review what companies are offering plans in our areas; view the cost of various plans w/ various options WITHOUT having to go through main gateway for HHS.gov. This has allowed me to become more familiar w/ what is being offered and by whom without having to complete the application AND it allows us to narrow down the plans or even choose one in a separate IT space from the application gateway!!
Submitted by BobbyG on
See http://regionalextensioncenter.blogspot.com/2013/10/federal-default-averted-for-now-time-to.html You have given the PPACA haters much ammunition with which to continue to try to bring down health care reform. Where was the software QA at the outset? It appears to have been non-existent.
Submitted by Smith on
The country is freaking broke, your website is pure Bovine Feces, and now you're spending more mone we have to borrow to fix this. The Country is run like this website, WRONG
Submitted by Joyce on
Adding an option for "window shopping" was a great idea. It worked perfectly. Currently I have insurance through work but as a cancer survivor with other pre-existing conditions I'm uninsurable otherwise. For years we have lived in fear of losing my job and health insurance. It was such a relief to get online and see that my family would have affordable options in the ACA marketplace if needed. Thank you!!!
Submitted by Richard on
I completed an application on October 1, for which I got a confirming id no. But that day when told that I could review subsidy eligibility, I got an error code. Since then I have never been able to re-access my application/account. Numerous calls to customer service have resulted in conflicting information. I was told to reset my password, but the website said I was using incorrect answers to security questions. (This is highly unlikely.) I was also told on at least 5 occasions that the "Advanced Resolution Center" would call me to help reset my password. I have not been called. I asked customer service if I should created a new application. They said definitely not recommended. So, I have an account but cannot access it. I cannot set up another? I am effectively cut out of the Affordable Care Act.
Submitted by Ray on
"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" And in the process you're managing to not violate federal contracting law left & right, eh? Your present contract partners are fine with losing this additional revenue, and won't come back to sue the government for breach of contract, I'm sure. No, they probably won't, because HHS will just pay out their contracts to prevent a lengthy discovery. As for your "tech surge", since HHS had to go get these "top men" at the last minute, their fees are going to cost an arm and a leg. But that's okay. It's just the taxpayers' money & if you have to burn through it in order to hide the administration's incompetence, I mean really, who could have a moral problem with that?
Submitted by Scott Hodgin on
Don't misrepresent the fact that there is "tremendous interest" in getting this healthcare. We are mandated/forced to have this insurance. This is unconstitutional.
Submitted by John Miller on
Not good enough. It took me over 20 attempts get through to set up an account. Then I am told that my wife's and my identities can not be verified. When I try to log back in, I get a blank page. This is not only embarrassing it is sabotaging the program and lending credence to those that claim that anything run by the government is incompetent. CALL IN WHOEVER IT TAKES AND FIX THIS THING FAST!!!!!!!!
Submitted by Peter on
Sebelius should be much more candid. Her evasions have worsened the problem
Submitted by Mark on
Don't piss down my back and tell me its raining.
Submitted by Richard on
Still can't Login, I just get routed back to the login page
Submitted by Peter on
I can get all the way to plans available for my county in Florida, but only one page of plans will show. Example...there are 46 silver plans available but I can see only 32... No way to see next page or any other pages of plans.
Submitted by David on
Yes, but replacing idiots with people who know how to build scalable web apps might help.
Submitted by John on
Sounds like you are forgetting about http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brooks%27_law "adding manpower to a late software project makes it later"
Submitted by Steve on
Assuming each person using the healthcare.gov website is worth MINIMUM WAGE, give us an estimate -- to the nearest $1M dollars -- of how much citizen time YOU have wasted. Perhaps you and your kind might learn a little humility by cutting checks to the unsuccessful citizens (no fault of their own) to compensate them at Minimum Wage Rate ... since NSA of course has the total logs of all attempts, successful and unsuccessful matched up to bank accounts and USPS mailing addresses.

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