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Hundreds of Improvements

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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

As part of our ongoing efforts to make improvements to HealthCare.gov, we continue to focus on the need to build capacity and fix software bugs.

Increasing capacity has largely been a function of enhancing the hardware side of HealthCare.gov so that it is reliable, scalable and recoverable. To do this, we have added server capacity, improved database functionality, and swapped out directory components.

Software fixes have also been an important part of our work. Our development and testing teams, working 24 hours a day, seven days a week, have made hundreds of improvements to system software on both the front-end, which faces consumers, and the back-end, which helps the site operate efficiently. Just last night, we implemented another round of software fixes.

As a result, there are now improvements that:

·        Make it easier for agents-brokers to find applications for consumers.

·        Made the user interface more intuitive for consumers by:

o   Improving display of “Plan Results”

o   Properly display spouse or domestic partner information

o   Allowing consumer to more flexibly enter tax information in the system.

All these fixes have greatly enhanced the ability of consumers to use the site to shop for and enroll in health plans that meet their needs. The site is better today than it was on Oct. 1.  We are on track to meet our goal of having the site work for the vast majority of users by the end of the month. To be clear, Nov. 30 does not represent a “re-launch” of the site. It is not a magical date.  There will be times after Nov. 30 when the site, like any web site, does not perform optimally. And work will continue after Nov. 30 to make further improvements.

Because of the numerous upgrades in software and hardware over the last month, on Dec. 1, HealthCare.gov will be able to handle approximately 50,000 users at the same time and more than 800,000 users a day. However, if there are extraordinarily high spikes in traffic, which exceed the site’s capacity, consumers will be put in a new advanced queuing system that allows them to be notified via email when they can return at a later time. If the site does experience high spikes in volume, as we saw in the first few days of October, we will recommend that consumers consider visiting the site during off-peak hours in the mornings, evenings or on weekends. 

Again, we are seeing improvements week over week with lower error rates and faster response times. Our work will continue so that every American who wants it, can access and enroll in affordable, high quality health coverage.


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 Sandy on
There is a bug that prevents people from editing/correcting information they've already entered (e.g., gross vs net income). Will this bug be corrected by December 1? If not, is creating an entire new ID and application a solution for this particular bug? I read that it worked for people who had trouble setting up an account in the early days but want to know if it will work for the 'inability to edit' bug. Thanks...
Submitted by Glynis on
yes, creating a new account with a new username, new password, and different email address works for that too. Delete your cookies, temporary internet files, and history first. Make sure your browser and java plugin are the most up to date versions. Chrome is working the best for people Internet explorer and safari are better than firefox.
Submitted by Pat on
I did this a month ago and it didn't work. Now I am out of email addresses (I have 5).
Submitted by Anonymous on
As of 11/28/2013. 1. I can still not view my eligibility results. 2. I can sill not view my healthcare marketplace notices.
Submitted by mj on
My issue as well and continues.
Submitted by James Wimberley on
Don't the eligibility results reach you as a pdf download and not a message on a web page? Check your download folder.
Submitted by Cary Grant on
Julie Julie Julie
Submitted by Disappointed on
This blog continues to illustrate the astonishing disconnect between the reality of the continuing problems with healthcare.gov and the PR blather that is coming from HHS. While the real and frustrating problems are on display in the comments section of each and every post, this blog continues the fact-free happy go-lucky talk about capacity enhancements and supposedly low error rates and fast page loads, as if no-one really ever reads the comments. The disconnect is here for all the world to see, and yet nothing ever changes. Have you no shame? President Obama promised on Oct. 21 in his Rose Garden speech that "if you’ve already tried to apply through the website and you’ve been stuck somewhere along the way, do not worry. In the coming weeks, we will contact you directly, personally, with a concrete recommendation for how you can complete your application". Yet, untold numbers of stranded consumers are still waiting for that recommendation, and every call to the call center exposes utter incompetency. Every day, you at HHS have the opportunity to provide concrete recommendations to those with stuck applications, either on this blog, on healthcare.gov, or by email. You have the email address of every user. All we get is silence. It is crystal clear now that you don't care for the actual users of healthcare.gov. You only care for the political consequences, and improving your public image is the only purpose of this utterly worthless blog, not providing useful information. I hoped you would prove me being wrong, but my expectations at this point are near zero.
Submitted by JEP on
@Disappointed, you've hit all the points and couldn't agree with you more. It's too bad that instead of telling us how much improvement has been made, Ms. Bataille, seeing what the errors are, couldn't provide us with some pointers on how to get through the application process. My original application has been "In Progress" since Oct. 8th, and my ID has been under review since then. I've uploaded documentation many times and mailed proof of identity to London, KY and get no reply that it's been received. Called the 800 number dozens of times and finally completed a phone application with a very nice, but clueless representative. But now, I have no way to access the new application, because "my identity hasn't been verified." My current insurance policy is cancelled effective January 1st, and I'm panicked because, I have no way to enroll for new coverage through this "exchange". If I go outside the exchange, my new premium will go up from $700 per month to over $1,800 per month with higher deductible and co-pays. Ms.Bataille can rightfully be called the "Bagdad Bob" of Obamacare. What's scary is that she actually seems to believe the dribble that she's spewing.
Submitted by James on
Please, I'm a new user signing up a full two weeks after this post, and still cannot so much as get past the first page of applying for insurance. This is a debacle. The reason we're "allowed" to go without insurance until March is because the government is technologically incompetent and they WOULD LIKE US TO forego applying so they don't have to buy more servers.
Submitted by James Wimberley on
That's understandable but unfair. Zients' team have to give priority to making the website work for new applicants - if they don't the whole thing enters a death spiral. There's a lot of evidence that it is working pretty well for these. The commenters on this blog are the wounded in the first wave. Unlike Utah beach on D-Day, the best policy is to get off the beach and try again in the right place. I wouldn't wait for the personalized help Obama has rashly promised. The American way is self-help. I agree the website is shamefully unresponsive. By now they should have a list of 50 standard answers to frequent problems.
Submitted by Anthony on
Given the complex codes needed for various state databases and 100,000 thousands scenario along with high volume, the website improvements have exceeded expectations.
Submitted by sam, atlanta on
you must be one of those incompetent designers who worked on this website, the way you defend it...
Submitted by Mitch on
Whose expectations have been exceeded? Not the folks using the website.
Submitted by Nancy Friday on
I have been trying to apply for insurance on healthcare.gov since October 1st. I was finally able to set up an account around the middle of October, and I then completed an application, and I was told that I needed my identity verified, and I uploaded documents. When I called the 1-800 number, I was told that it takes at least two weeks to have my identity verified. Last week I finally decided to start all over again with a new account with a new email address and new user name, and this time after I filled out the application, I was told to call Experian, and give them my ID number. I did this, and was told that they could not verify my identity because I don't have a credit history, and that I would have to call up healthcare.gov. I did that and explained that this was my second application, but I had already uploaded documents to verify my identity when I completed my first application. They again told me that it takes several weeks to verify everybodys identity, and to just be patient. I then read somewhere that the upload document link was not working, and people were being asked to mail their documents to Kentucky. I then called back healthcare.gov last Friday, and asked them about that, and was told that they did not know anything about the upload document feature not working, but they could not verify if they received the documents that I uploaded because the system was down. When I called back four hours later, the person I spoke to could not find either one of the applications I did online, and suggested that I do one over the phone. I did that, and the application went through, but she could not tell if my identity had been verified. She suggested that I try logging in again in a few hours and see if I could shop for insurance. I did that and when I logged into my account, it pulled up my old application which I did on line last week. When I called them up again on Monday, they could not look up my account because their system was down. When I called back a few hours later, they were able to pull up the account I did over the phone, and said that I had been verified. When I told her that I still could not pull up the new application, she sent my problem to the advanced resolution team, and they are supposed to call me back in 2-5 business days and try to attach my new account to my login information. I am afraid that they are not going to call me back, and I am also concerned that my identity did not get verified like this woman claimed.
Submitted by Will on
In the exact same boat as you, Nancy. At least I could fill out the application beyond the 1/2 way point as of about a week ago (it was stuck for me at the point where it asked about kids in college out of state and if parent lived there.) Still zilch on ID verification.
Submitted by Anonymous on
what a shame!
Submitted by Mary on
I am with you, Nancy....different name, similar experiences. It is so frustrating. I applied October 2 and got to the very last page, sign and submit, where it was stuck. I sent verification online and it said it was successful. Not true. Every time I tried after that, and I tried all hours of the day and night, even at 3 in the morning, trying to outsmart the system, but had no success. Also, none of the information that was supposed to be saved each time I hit "save and continue" was there the next time I tried. After each unsuccessful attempt, I did both of the alternatives: live chat and phone help and each time they told me how sorry they were but really couldn't help because they couldn't get in the system either; they suggested I try at less busy times. They explained how they are working day and night to fix the problem. I have a paper application filled out but am hesitant to send it in because it may get lost someplace with my information in it. In the last several weeks, I could not even get past the privacy agreement page where the screen froze. So this morning I tried clicking on the eligibility button on the left of the screen after logging in, and there was progress! Upload documents (I know I had done this)! Nope....had to do it again; it said "success" and I would be notified by email. Yay! Next, "continue to application"...and there it was...my information, kind of like I had typed it in way back in October! This was great...so I continued and corrected the information, hit the old "save and continue" and....................."The system is down...error id 500.000888" and the time. And a suggestion to call the help number. And an offer to email me when the system is back up. And I did get an email, and I did try it again, and it was deja vu all over again! No one can even explain what the error codes mean. In the meantime, Blue Cross told me in October that my insurance, pitiful though it was, was going to go up to $606 a month starting in January! Well, that is not affordable. I am a persistent person so I will keep trying. I was a very big supporter of this program and this president, but my faith has been shaken. I expected better.
Submitted by Lisa on
I was in the same boat. Thank you whomever I finally got to tax credit eligibility where now it says please wait. How long been waiting since 9 this morning. A couple of phone calls and they say keep trying keep waiting.
Submitted by Marc on
They will not call back, they have yet to call me after several weeks. They need to have some type of ticket number that they can give each of us so that the problem can be followed by you and not just in their computer. I have called the 800 number countless times with zero success.
Submitted by Roger on
I'm glad the vast majority will be well served starting December 1st. What are the remaining helpless minority supposed to do? Is there a plan B for getting insurance that takes effect January 1st?
Submitted by Glynis on
I'd suggest contacting a navigator or broker. Online brokers like ehealthinsurance and GetInsured will be able to do an online application including the subsidy credit in the beginning of December. I did an online chat with ehealthinsurance and she confirmed that.
Submitted by Nancy Friday on
Are they going to have any better luck when I can't get my identity confirmed on healthcare.gov? Hopefully the advanced support person who is supposed to call me in 3-5 business days actually calls me, and is able to attach my phone application to my existing account. When I called up the 1-800 number on Tuesday, they told me that my identity is confirmed in my phone application, but when I try to link it to my existing account, it tells me that I can't until I get my identity confirmed. I even tried too set up a new email account, and start over again with a new application, and I must first go through identity verification before I can fill out the application on line, and when I try to do that, it tells me that I must call up Experian, who I know will not be able to help me because I do not have a credit history, which I confirmed when I tried to pull up my credit history on Experian, and one did not exist. I can't believe that I am the only person that does not have a credit history. I might call up one of the local hospitals which are listed in the get help section, and see if they have any advice for me, because I am sure that they have run into this before.