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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.

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Submitted by Jay on
Now when I click on the Create an Account button, nothing happens. On many earlier attempts, I've gotten further, but still couldn't create an account. I entered the information and got a message telling me to try again. I voted for Obama twice. Now thanks to him I may not have health insurance as of January 1, 2014. Thanks Barack! Maybe the G.W. Bush administration wasn't the most incompetent in history. There is a new contender!
Submitted by Todd on
If people have got plans through the system and I donr know anyone that has, sure wish the Insurance providers would put some #s out on sign up's since many Millions of people have to have it are they writting the 100,000+ policy each day. Don't want to see storys in Tv of people that got it. I want to talk to someone I really know... .
Submitted by Anonymous on
This is the 2nd night in a row I have tried to create an account with an user ID & password. This is not working when you click the "create an account" so now what?
Submitted by Really trying on
Does the "upload documents" feature really work? I have tried it several times and always get the "Success! Your files were uploaded successfully" screen, but it only takes a couple of seconds and it shows the uploaded file size was 1 Byte. Actual file size is 88K, so I suspect it didn't actually upload anything. And why is there no way to jump directly to the file upload page? That is supposedly the only remaining task for my application, but I have to go through 28 web pages of "Save & Continue" to get to that page.
Submitted by Billy Bog on
Do you think you can just sell on line through E-BAy
Submitted by Jeff on
I started trying to access the site on 10-1, and after a long struggle with many difficulties, and re-entering information several times, I finally completed the application on 10-23. I received an e-mail stating that I could view the results. I went to the sight and clicked on "view results" and receive an "http 400 bad request" page. I then go back and click on "proceed to enrollment" and get sent to a blank page. I have gone thru this process every day, multiple times, with the same results. I have called the phone number that was on one of the error messages, and every time I talk to someone they tell me they can only help me fill out a new application over the phone, not help me with my online application (they are of no help and they don't seem to care). I need help! Does anyone have any advice?
Submitted by Nick on
Wanting to enroll in a health plan, I reached status 'Initial enrollment' on October 14 and have been there ever since. Upon confirmation of my plan I proceeded to the payment page of the insurer, BCBS, for the first payment. It did not work. After 3 tries, I got: 'Error: failed to create account'. For clarity, this page was not part of healthcare.gov. It did not work anyway, However, the preceding screen mentioned that the immediate payment was optional, and that otherwise I would receive an invoice from the insurance company in 2-5 business days. Nothing came. After calling the ins. company 4 times over 4 weeks, they still have nothing about me in their computer systems. Over the last month, I de-enrolled and re-enrolled 2 times in the same plan, hoping that the re-enrollment would trigger notification of the insurance company of my enrollment. Nada. I also created some other accounts to try and get past the doldrums. No way, they are all in some dysfunctional state. Most are in the 'Our verification system is temporarily unavailable, We expect to resolve the issue in the next 24 hours' state for eternity. By the way, when are you going to address that obviously wrong error message? I have never received any e-mail confirmation or other message from the marketplace about my enrollment, but I don't know if that is a feature or a bug. After calling the marketplace for the umpteenth time and while talking with an advanced resolution representative, this gentleman could not find my enrolled application, but he could find a bunch of unsuccessful applications. Another agent, a couple of days earlier, found only the 'successful' application. At some point, to my surprise, the last agent asked for my user id and password, which of course I did not tell him. Is this standard procedure? Seems odd to me. Another time I was called by an advanced resolution rep. three weeks(!) after the call where I was promised to be contacted in 2 business days. This person called for someone with a name unknown to me that she had associated with my phone number. What's going on there? Urgent question: what are you going to do about all these people with botched applications and enrollments like me? Will you offer a reset button or something? Will you contact us with a resolution? Please let us know before the end of November.
Submitted by Anonymous on
When I try to see summary of benefits or providers list on anthem insurance in Ohio I get no information so how can I choose if the information isn't there to see?
Submitted by Brian on
I have been consistently attempting to login to my account for the past three weeks.....Enter login information and the browser returns me to the login page with blank fields.....What's up????
Submitted by Brian on
So, I have been trying to get my application in since Oct 1st and STILL am not able too! When will the system be usable to the public and not just in "test runs"???