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Making a difference in how people find health information, today and into the future.

Improving the User Experience

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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

We’ve made substantive progress over the weekend—and the Healthcare.gov site continues to get better each week.

First, we took steps to improve hardware and software issues. We successfully installed two large-scale data storage units, which will help ensure the stability of the Federally-facilitated Marketplace application.   Storage units are crucial to handling volume, and more will be added over the next few weeks.  Additionally, we are closely monitoring load balances among storage units to ensure efficient transaction handling. 

Second, based on the new protocol established last week to enable integrated performance teams to identify, prioritize, test and fix specific software issues on an accelerated basis, we implemented software fixes that addressed dozens of outstanding issues. 

These updates will improve the user experience, improve system throughput, and streamline the process for agent/brokers and customer service representatives. 

A few examples – which demonstrate the depth and specificity of fixes we’ve done to enhance the application and user experience include the following:

  • “Save” and “remove” options were added for consumers to upload documents to enable easier enrollment.
  • Consumer alerts were added on Plan Compare to let users know they cannot use Advanced Premium Tax Credits (APTC) if they select catastrophic plans.
  • And Out-of-state residency information changes were simplified.

A number of other application fixes also improve user flow and address issues with 834 transaction forms.   834s are the transaction forms that the Marketplace system provides to insurance companies to complete the processing of an application and to enable the customer to ultimately complete payment and enrollment with the issuer.

  • Cancellation notices have been corrected.  Users –individuals or insurers—are now notified appropriately when a cancellation is made.
  • A rate rounding issue was fixed to enable users’ applications to move forward more easily.  Previously, APTC calculations that rounded resulted in stopping the application process.
  • If an individual chooses to work with a broker/agent, the broker can now add a unique identifier to simplify the workflow and to reference the information in the future.

In addition to these recent fixes, our ongoing monitoring shows that the system is stable with users moving more quickly through it with fewer errors.  As we’ve reported previously, we’ve also resolved many of the initial account creation issues that consumers had experienced early on.

Third, we know that in the first days of open enrollment many consumers tried to log in to the Marketplace on HealthCare.gov— and to take the first step to create an online account— but had trouble. While working to improve our systems, we’ve been conducting analysis to identify those consumers who may have been unsuccessful in creating accounts at that time.

Today we’re beginning to send messages to those consumers who had account creation issues to let them know they can now try again.  And we’re providing them with instructions about how to get enrolled—and some tips. We have also posted a consumer blog on this at HealthCare.gov.

We’ll continue to actively communicate with consumers about where they are in the process and what they need to do to complete enrollment over time. As we go forward, we continue to make progress on HealthCare.gov.  We have the right team in place and a relentless focus on getting the job done quickly and well.  The site is getting better each week, and by the end of November, it will be working smoothly for the vast majority of users.


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 Rob on
It is pretty obvious that no one is paying any attention to the many, good, litgid comments listed here by people wanting healthcare. Other than helping to vent frustrations it doesn't seem to do ANY GOOD at all!!! I just have to wonder if the people working to fix this are as disgusted as we are. HOPE and CHANGE are starting to look like a thing of the past! So sad, right when things were falling in place, it all falls apart!! Now we can only HOPE and PRAY!!
Submitted by CJ on
This site will not allow me to advance beyond the screen asking for date of birth. I was born in 1969 and I am entering the proper format for birth date. It keeps popping up I must be at least 18 years of age. This is not a difficult fix in software. Seriously?
Submitted by Anonymous on
I cannot view my eligibility results or the notices. I talked to the call center. The call center told me I am stuck until the website is fix.
Submitted by bob on
this sucks that you can't get any information on the subsidy until you apply. it is just your income. I found the plans online and went to the insurance company to see what is in the plan what the copays are, and the deductibles are. their web site works and their phone people have good information on their plans. Also I understand that there are major security issues with putting your personal information in this system until they get it all fixed.
Submitted by Frances on
My husband and I just managed to enroll in a health insurance plan after trying since October 1 by following the advice given by someone on this blog. The advice – create a new account with a new email address, login username, and password. Identity was verified immediately by giving SS#, address, phone number, and answering a few multiple choice questions. The system did crash on the first two attempts when we attempted to go back and edit, so it did take three new email addresses, login usernames, and passwords, but when we moved straight through the application processes without “looking back”, it worked and we were able to enroll in a plan. Called the customer service number given for the insurance company. The service rep said they ARE successfully receiving applications from the healthcare.gov website and we should be receiving our new policy and bill in the mail within the next week or so. What a relief!!!! Don’t give up!!!!
Submitted by Vastmajority on
"The site is getting better each week, and by the end of November, it will be working smoothly for the vast majority of users." What is your definition of a vast majority? Would 10% of users constitute a vast majority?
Submitted by dumbperson on
I just really LOVE this site. It is so much fun to use. I find I can create an account in seconds, and can shop for insurance plans so very easily. I don't see how anyone could improve on my user experience
Submitted by Gene on
I don't have any confidence that the programmers know who is stuck at the various choke points on the site. I got my eligibility status weeks ago, but keep seeing the same red warning box on the "Enroll To Do"page and the list of available plans in step one is still empty. I also applied over the phone several weeks ago and have heard nothing. The chat line got a specialist to call me (because I have registered and been declared eligible and just need to see plan choices to enroll) and someone did call and said: "Yep, you're stuck on that page and we're working on that problem."
Submitted by Anonymous on
You see the green box below that with the word "set" in it? Click that box. The red warning is just a reminder that you may have to submit documentation or something similar to verify your employment or income. You should still be able to compare and select a plan.
Submitted by Dan on
I am stuck with the red warning box as well. I wonder if they are really working on that problem.
Submitted by 55 on
After 6 weeks of trying daily I am not better off then 1 October. Watch out for the phone application - it doesn't work either. I had to submit my phone application four times because they misspelled our name (repeatedly), left things blank, etc. Every time I finished a phone application they say it will only going to be 3 -5 days to hear on eligibility. It wait and then call. Your phone application was not finished. It has been over a month since the first was submitted. The web page can't be edited. It lists me 3x and my wife once. It still puts my SS number into the space for my wife's number. They told me it would be working by the 15 November and they would eliminate extra accounts from early on. As of today no detectable change. Don't believe them when they say advanced help will call within 3-5 days they won't call. They can't call because they can't help. How are they going to sign up 1 million people by 1 January when they only signed up about 25K so far?
Submitted by Ann on
Forget about fixing an old application. Start a new one. Use a different email address and user name or try starting a new application with just a new user name. These old unfixable apps will need to be purged at some point.
Submitted by Bob Conaway on
I've had an Application in "In Process" status since October 1st. Every time I enter the application I have to re-complete many sections. I have re-completed the Application more than 5 times. During data entry the systems fails to confirm my ID and gives an error msg. One (of the many) CSRs said the system cannot verify me thru SSA and to call SSA. SSA's telephone wait time is over an hour, but I spent the time. SSA is perfectly happy with my ID data, which I already knew since they are sending me SS checks every month. Interestingly, when viewing my Profile page it says my ID is verified, and shows the green check mark. I put in a special request to have my Profile deleted so I could just start over. That was 2 weeks ago. I was supposed to be called by a special support person last Thursday, but no call. I spoke to another CSR a few minutes ago who says I have to mail in proof of my identity. The upload feature that is supposed to be present on the Healthcare site isn't there. So, I guess I will mail-in the ID AND a manual application, in an effort to cover all bases. I have no health insurance and am 64 years old. Take a guess how stressful all of this is. In the last 15 years I was a central participant and on the Steering Committee in several very large ERP development and roll-out projects of applications used worldwide. I really do know how all of this is supposed to work. This is sad.
Submitted by Chuck Bryant on
Here's what would improve my user experience, ( and I'm clearly not the only one in this predicament ) : Review the identity verification documents that have been uploaded and allow us to proceed. I uploaded my driver's license six weeks ago today(6th) and my passport five days later, and my identity verification is still being reviewed. I've been called back by the Advanced Resolution Center twice, and they can provide no resolution other than " keep waiting ".
Submitted by Sheryl on
I can relate to your problem, Chuck. No one seems to care at all about the people who are "stuck". I keep wondering why they don't seem to address that problem. Should we start over? Should we wait even longer? Will anyone even look at the people who can't move forward? Or do we have to figure out what to do on our own? Customer support doesn't have a clue.
Submitted by Kathleen on
When I access the site, I am told to resume enrollment. Then I am told that there is a problem with my application. When I click the button to review my details, I am sent back to the original page that tells me to resume enrollment. And so on and so on. This is so frustrating. Apparently, the federal government cannot do something California, for example, had no problem doing.
Submitted by Rob on
Hello, earth to space, earth to space; Is anybody listening???? It's 11/16/13 and your lousy website still will not let me create an account!!!!! So funny we put a man on the moon in the 70's and can't make a operational website in 2013. Also, I wonder why your progress reports are 3-4 days behind, shouldn't you be making progress by the minute or even hour.?? I thought they were working 24-7 on this debockle. All the progress reports so far seem like a lot of talk and (for me anyhow) NO PROGRESS!! I sure hope the people working (or resting ) to fix this thing are being watched and hopefully supervised in some way!!! Over three years of work and planning, boy what a waste of time and money!!!!! I would also say a waste of effort too, but I don't think too much effort was involved in creating this "whatever you want to call it!!!"
Submitted by Patty on
I am with you, this whole web site is a complete GLITCH and there are just GLITCHES working on it !!!!What do you expect the results are going to be????
Submitted by James on
We first Landed on the moon in 1969. I hope this helps resolve your problem.
Submitted by Dave on
How do I make my insurance payment?
Submitted by Jimmy on
The "view eligibility results" does not work. I can't enroll until I know what to do next.
Submitted by Angela on
I accidentally clicked the button to skip checking for a subsidy and can't get back to that area. It's forcing me to select a plan and enroll without letting me check for a subsidy. Please help!!
Submitted by lOOIE on
Submitted by Peter Brooks on
Imagine if everyone in america got cancer all on the same day. To an insurance company that is effectively what Obama has done.
Submitted by John on
I've definitely noticed improvements this week. Last week I had forgotten my username and clicked the link to have it emailed to me. No email came. Yesterday I tried it again and the email showed up instantly. Was able to complete my app and get an eligibility decision within a few minutes. Thanks for your hard work, I'm sure the site will be running pretty good in a few weeks. Good luck to everyone else still working on your app!