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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 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.
Submitted by Marv on
when I finally got through and all aspects of the website worked, & I used the national exchange, I was able to enroll with no difficulty at all. I have already paid my premium for January with a great Blue Cross plan. Once it works like this for everyone, it'll be really simple. I feel excited that I am one of the people that got through the process, and relieved to have some really good coverage for the new year.
Submitted by steve on
Fix the damn site. I am so embarrassed
Submitted by Phil on
Thanks you for providing more detail on what went wrong and being clear about work being done to address these issues moving forward. There was a fairly thorough analysis of these problems with recommendations written up at http://www.civicagency.org/2013/10/learning-from-the-healthcare-gov-infrastructure/ and it seems as if some of those same recommendations are actually being implemented here, but a few more might be worth considering as well. One thing that would help bring a lot of closure to those who have expressed concerns with what happened and are interested in preventing these issues again would be a full postmortem covering both process and management challenges as well as technical implementation problems. I would expect that something like this is already being compiled internally, but if anything of the sort could be made public it would go a long way to give the public a better sense of the real difficulties of implementing something as significant as this and also real knowledge to apply to future projects. This has become standard practice in the tech industry after major outages. Such constructive transparency in the aftermath helps maintain confidence and also spreads useful learnings from the experience.
Submitted by Mike C on
Hire Bernie Madoff, no one runs a Ponzi scheme better.
Submitted by Rick on
90+ million estimated to build the monstrosity--actually cost 4X that amount. How much more to have the best and brightest tell you that it is unfixable? Just the first step in European style socialism. Congrats. Waiting for my audit in 3....2....1
Submitted by John on
I was able to enroll in the Washington State exchange October 2 at 5:30 am using my iPad mini in a local Starbucks. The process took about 45 minutes, and I have since received written confirmation of coverage from one of the premium insurance companies in our state. I am not eligible for a subsidy, but the plan is no more than I was previously paying and the deductibles and out of pocket maximums are lower, and preventive care is a covered benefit, something I did not have before. The ACA is a boon to independent business owners such as myself.
Submitted by Mike on
Why didn't you bring in "some of the best and brightest" while your developing the website? Why did you lie about the problem just being heavy traffic? Why do I feel as if the federal government is my enemy?
Submitted by Peter on
I am unable to log in. I successfully created a username and password and received confirmation that the account was created, but when I try to log in, the https://www.healthcare.gov/marketplace/auth/userprofile page does not load (it just stays blank, no matter how long I wait). What can I do? [Name and address withheld for privacy]
Submitted by Bubba on
Seriously - why the constant lies and cover up. While there may be 1/2 million signed up- we know it was not at this horribly run site. I have tried over 200 times and can't sign up - and you want to Bragg on having 19 million hits?? Over 3 weeks? FB has more posts tha that a day! Get the politics out - tell the truth- and get this piece of crap fixed!!!
Submitted by joe on
your site is horrible, and anyone who was involved with setting it up should be fired
Submitted by Ian on
Re-publish the code, and build status on github/travis and ASK FOR HELP. The geek community is practically begging to be called on to assist with this.
Submitted by steve omaha on
Your web devs are clueless. The jquery being used on the site is a joke, I would not a let a first year junior commit any of those linesof code. 61 separate js files, ajax requests in loops, non minified, non gzipped responses.....a complete amateurish job.
Submitted by Niraj Shah on
Can you give us some technical details of what happened?
Submitted by Debbie on
Went in this morning and get prices within 30 seconds. Maybe things are looking up.
Submitted by Hector on
As of yesterday afternoon, I cannot log into my account. When I attempt to login, I am immediately returned to the login screen and no error messages shown.
Submitted by rosemariejackowski on
If only they had been nicer to Ed Snowden, he would fix this.
Submitted by Mike on
Stuck in look in the Family & Household section. Cannot get past it to complete application.
Submitted by David on
Wow...comments pending approval. The old Soviet Union has nothing on our current Administration.
Submitted by David on
And how much more is this going to cost? You've already spent more on this website than successful start ups spent on their entire organization (i.e. Twitter, Instagram) You can't even do a website in a reasonable cost efficient manner yet you want Americans to let you control 1/7th of the economy? Seriously? And no one has lost their jobs or is being held accountable or appearing before Congress. Way to go "most transparent Administration ever."
Submitted by Charles on
You want to run 1/6 of the entire economy - healthcare - but you can't even run a transactional web site? I would as for an opt-out waiver, but won't even try since you only listen to lobbyists in big business or unions. The American people are going to rise up against this train wreck.
Submitted by Michael on
If you want to know how your Marketplace should operate, review the Maryland Health Connection. I was able to create an account, pass the identity test, and see each of the plans available in less than 15 minutes yesterday.