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HealthCare.gov: A Progress Update

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Saturday, November 9, 2013

Three weeks ago, we announced a technology surge as part of our commitment to fix Healthcare.Gov. Yesterday, entrepreneur and management expert Jeff Zients said this about the status of our efforts: 

“We’re making good progress on the punch list overall.  We’re constantly tiering the list to make sure that the most important issues are at the top and we are making progress across those priority areas.

I want to emphasize, however, like any website, there are new issues that crop up and you’re continually improving.  So we’ll be getting better each week in the month of November and we’ll continue to do so in December, January, February, just like you do with any website.”

As Jeff has said, HealthCare.gov is fixable and we are on a path to do just that so by the end of November, it will be working smoothly for the vast majority of users.

To help you understand some of the steps we’ve taken to improve the site over the last three weeks, we wanted to highlight the major fixes we've put into place:

  • We brought in management expert Jeff Zients to help lead the surge. We also named QSSI as the general contractor and brought in additional staff from each of our contractors.
  • We structured 4 core teams to fix and monitor software and infrastructure issues in real-time.
  • We’ve doubled the number of servers and enhanced system redundancy, improving site architecture and increasing capacity to better meet the high consumer demand and site traffic.
  • The account registration process was completely overhauled. We can now handle nearly 17,000 potential account registrants per hour. 
  • Robust performance testing was implemented to identify fixes for our punch list—prioritizing those that have the most impact on the consumer experience.  
  • A virtual database was replaced by a high capacity physical database to improve system efficiency.
  • We reduced the error rate -- the frequency, on a per page basis, of system time outs or failures that prevented the user from advancing from 6% to 2%. 

While we’re still not where we want to be with HealthCare.gov, the site is getting better each week.

Millions of Americans are already seeing benefits from the Affordable Care Act. As we continue to improve the site, more and more Americans are finishing their applications through the site. Here are some of their stories:

  • Deborah L in New Hampshire, is saving hundreds of dollars a month for better coverage, despite having a pre-existing condition.
  • Lissie S of Atlanta site exit disclaimer is saving 50% on both her deductible and premium.
  • Daniel, a 22 year old Floridian, is thrilled to get coverage at just $70 a month.
  • A family in Utah site exit disclaimer is getting coverage for $123 a month.
  • Folks from Chicago site exit disclaimer to Philadelphia site exit disclaimer are still excited to get covered.

To read more stories about Americans benefiting from the Affordable Care Act, visit hhs.gov/HealthCare.

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Comments

Submitted by James Wimberley on
At last, a metric! The error rate. Please update it here every week, not just when it improves. Other possible metrics include: - the number of users stuck for more than 24 hours, broken down by their stage in the application; - the number of form-834 errors reported by insurance firms, - the number of calls to the phone helpline divided by the number of new applications. Can other readers make more or better suggestions?
Submitted by Roger on
From my perspective of being a software engineer and trying to use the website everyday, I see some bugs fixed and new ones introduced. Do you have any automated regression testing in place? If so, what percentage code coverage do you have?
Submitted by David on
To the administrators: some of these comments could help you a lot, such as the one from a software engineer. I hope you are paying attention to them. Some replies from you might calm individuals suffering from site bugs. Consider taking a few minutes to write some helpful replies.

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