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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.

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Submitted by amanda on
Been trying since day one to set up a marketplace account and I keep getting a message that my account could not be created at this time. I did the live chat and they couldn't help me. Called the 1-800 number and they said site would be done a few days. That was over a week ago. When is this going to be fixed?!?! I need insurance to have my gallbladder removed. I am in constant pain.
Submitted by Wallace on
The meaning of proud to be American! Thank you all. May Balance, Peace, Harmony, Joy, Love and Spirit guide you'll...
Submitted by Mary on
I think all this is a bunch of bull crap, you have to have insurance because obama says so. Then you can't even get on heref and find out anything about it. But of course all those dope head out there drawing disability and there isn't anything wrong with them except they are smart to do what they do and stupid people like me keep on working to support their lazy tail and then I'm the one that pays for it with my tax money and I have to pay an arm and leg just to get insurance.
Submitted by Sue on
Mary, Obama didn't say so. Our government officials voted on this and passed the American Accountability Act. "Obamacare" is a word the Republicans decided to call the Act so that people like you would be ignorant enough to think Obama did this.
Submitted by with held on
I believe that you are refering to the Affordable Care Act not the American Accountability Act, be careful when you are calling others ignorant. You just might look ignorant yourself!
Submitted by Erica Friedman on
I wanted to see what my options were, but had to apply for eligibility to get an account. I already have heqalth insurance, and still do not know my options, because everything on the site wants me to "apply" for insurance I don't need. I just wanted to learn what my options are.
Submitted by Suzanne on
ha! I knew this would be a failure. Just like all other aspects that our government is in charge of. Huge failures.
Submitted by Susan on
INCOMPETENCE!!! This administration doesn't care because ultimately they want a single-payer system. Long waits and subpar care is what will result. And its ARROGANCE, and PARTISAN POLITICS why this administration doesn't listen to anyone, and make the necessary changes, to delay a year and why it will destroy ultimately competetion in the healthdare industry. Obamacare and its website is and will always be a DISASTER! SEBELIUS is incompetent and blames others.... she should be fired! Do it.
Submitted by Carol on
When are they going to give the low income insurance?I want to no if it is comming in the back of a turtle.
Submitted by suzanne on
this Affordable Care Act insurance IS FOR LOW INCOME people. You just make a little too much money to be on Medicaid but not enough to afford OBAMACARE!!
Submitted by Gina on
tells me i have a message waiting for me and i go there but page cant be found
Submitted by sharon on
this is a joke.....i tryed also for weeks to get in and i cant they keep telling me to call.bull im not calling anyone! and when it comes time to do my taxs dont punish me by a fine.....not my fault you people dont know what your doing and cant fix the problem.
Submitted by Patriot on
"confirms that the American people are looking for quality, affordable health coverage, and want to find it online." When you control the price to make it "affordable" you will no longer have "quality". Your use of the "American people" in this sentence is incorrect as many of us working Americans already have affordable quality healthcare. Unfortunately that will change now. If you continue to take my money and use it to pay for someone else's healthcare, I will destroy you.
Submitted by Thomas on
where do you go or what do you do if you are in the prcess of filing for disability?
Submitted by Lisa on
Can not get past the summary. My son is my son's parent, or my parent. What ever I do the application hinders here. I have adaughter and son, on the application, either way Ienter them, same problem.
Submitted by Julio on
I had trouble with the site because when I tried to review the info as the screen said to do, it made me put my dependent's info in again to proceed, which ended up adding my kids three times. Then it wasn't clear if the financial info being requested is gross or net. When I went to the Live Chat, they were completely useless and said I would have to call because they couldn't get into my application. What good are they if they can't get into my application to help me?
Submitted by Sheena Weldon on
I did not have problem, completing my application on October 21, 2013. The problem I am having today 10/29/2013 that I am not able to complete step 3- and 4. The system refer you to MANY option. After talking with a representative it shows that I enrolled in the system but on my part it show it's in PROGRESS. I worked for the federal government (Social Security Administration) for over twenty years and we had problem when we begin to complete applications on the computer instead of paper application. I know you can get this matter fixed. I am praying that all the technical problems will be completed soon. Don't get discouraged. [Personal Information withheld for Privacy] 10/29/2013
Submitted by Bob on
Can't complete an application , can't get through on the phone. More failure from this administration.
Submitted by Reggie on
Sid,When filling out the app on line the site will stop me to say that the system can not verify my information at this time. It gives me a choice to "Save Info and Return Later" or "Continue filling out App and we will save your info". I have to choose one or the other but when I return later some of the info is missing or changed to a wrong answer. How can this happen? I have to start over each time filling out the app until eventually I will get stopped by the same message. Also Sid, it wasn't until my 4th call to the Marketplace call center that the operator admitted she could take my app over the phone, which she did. The prior operators didn't want to deal with that process. By the way, the operator who took my app over the phone said I would get my verification in the mail within a week and a half. I guess that process has bugs also because it has been 3 weeks with no response.
Submitted by Julie on
The most frustrating part of my experience is the slowness of the site. I would have to wait for the information that was entered to be accepted. Then when it tries to verify your identity and can't verify it. I am also concerned that copies of birth certificates and ss cards were sent and no confirmation was received. Who know who has that information now? After spending hours and hours trying to get something accomplished on your site, I gave up. I will wait until things have been fixed and I hear success stories. Honestly, I have never had the kind of problems that I had on this site. I think of Amazon and how many people buy on Amazon and the quick service in getting the items that were bought. Maybe you should hire people from Amazon to help with the site. So many people access Amazon, search what they want, buy it, and then it appears in the mail days later. It can be done.
Submitted by Dale on
You should make the plans available for comparison with out having to fill out the information for applying, such as Minnesota Sure Health Exchange. The consumer will not feel as threatened by the website by having to furnish all of the information before they can compare. The government also is making a mistake in assuming that everyone is computer literate and will go to navigators or agents for help.
Submitted by Mary on
just trying to get info on Ins
Submitted by Tom on
Why can't I find out prices including copays and deductables without filling out an entire application? I talked with an agent on the phone and she said that applications were taking "an hour- more or less". Why should I have to spend an hour filling out a form just to possibly find out that I can't afford the offered plan when you calculate total costs including copays and deductables. The monthly premium is only the tip of the total expenses!
Submitted by Kim on
I don't understand why they ask you to AGREE or DISAGREE. Then tell me that when I disagree for them to use my tax return information for future information on how to charge us for health care. The web site said it would affect my eligibility with assistance, paying for Health Insurance. So why put a disagree button.
Submitted by Steve on
It has been two weeks and I have not been able to view my eligibility results, its a blank page. I called for help three times, no help. Should I continue to enrollment without viewing results??? I was excited to have affordable health insurance for everyone who needs it, in fact I THINK IT IS IMPERATIVE, you have got to get the site fixed soon before people give up.