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.