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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 Jody on
I have gotten through most of the process, however it gets stuck on the review and enroll page...it just sits there saying "please wait". I have waited various amounts of time up to 2 hrs. Very, very frustrated. I am 182% below poverty level but PA state medicaid said I make too much money. This is the most frustrating enrollment i have ever done.
Submitted by Deidre on
I have chosen a plan and printed out eligibility status but when I go back in it says enrollment not complete - pick a dental plan - which I submit I don't want a dental plan - then it goes right back to that page and tells me again to pick a plan or deny dental plan - I deny dental and once again it goes back to the dental - like I never clicked I didn't want it - this has been like this for 6 weeks --- I cannot finish my enrollment - I called one time over a week ago - they told me to try again later -- really??
Submitted by Connie on
I cannot get logged in. I have a username and password, but the site says it is not valid. But, if I try to start over with a new username and Password, the site says I already have an account. Please help!
Submitted by Ron on
I'm still waiting since Oct 20 on the manual identity verification as the Experian questions were either too ambiguous or the interface never worked. I'd like to just start the whole damned thing over but when I try to do that, it won't create a new account or if it does, it won't allow me to log in. If I don't get verified soon I'm going to give up and try to get my wife as the primary account holder and see if that works.
Submitted by Anonymous on
'Application Details' link DOES NOT WORK - nor do any of the other links on same page. I gave some type of issue with my Application and it says to see Application Details, BUT it DOESN'T work so I can go no further. Will I be able to sign up before the end of the year?? Also, 'Chat' is USELESS and a complete waste of taxpayer $ - I don't need some with no solutions to teall me there are 'gliches' and to call the phone number because they cannot help me.
Submitted by Christine on
Time entering information today 11-13-13 has not improved. Still waiting 15sec or longer per screen. Address information. On address verification, if user does not select address software has found and selects the address they entered, then the user address appears multiple times for each of the remaining family members. For example, Family member 1, has original address, family member 2, sees 2 of the entered address, PLUS the computer found address and so on. I've entered my data multiple times already, what is up with the DATA RETRIEVAL? Some of the data is retrieved but not all. (I can't get past the "Our VERIFICATION SYSTEM IS DOWN AND WILL BE BACK UP IN 24 HOURS. YOU WILL NEED TO REVIEW (should say re-enter) AND SIGN YOU APPLICATION. If I am going to have to REVIEW, bring my data back so I don't have to enter it again. Thanks
Submitted by Barb on
I have got an account. When I try to continue It does not go passed the eligbility page. That has been going on for 2 weeks.
Submitted by Melanie Campbell on
You need to do something about IDENTITY VERIFICATION NOW, and you need to provide people a way to directly contact the center in London, KY. I applied in the first week and I still have nothing to show for it. Equifax can't help me because this site never generated a number they need and your site claims that it cannot verify my identity. I have uploaded the requested info in countless times. I have actually snail-mailed copies twice now. The first was sent well over a month ago--the second was sent in the last two weeks. Yet no one can find it. I CANNOT GET INSURANCE HERE IF YOU WON'T VERIFY WHAT YOU HAVE BEEN SENT AND YOU DO NOT PROVIDE A WAY TO FOLLOW UP THAT IS ACTUALLY HELPFUL. Calling the toll free number gets me friendly people who cannot help. Calling them is POINTLESS. They have claimed to me a couple of times now that they can't help me with this and that is ludicrous. I've asked them more than once to delete my app and let me start over and they cannot even seem to do that. WHAT am I supposed to do????
Submitted by Sami on
-View Eligiblity button still doesn't work, either does nothing or opens empty page. -Files uploaded to verify status still have not been processed, no ETA. -After having chosen a plan for me and my wife, wife got dropped now and enrollment is starting over, only showing plans for me.
Submitted by Patrick on
You need to tell visitors to healthcare.gov that if they submit a paper application they will not be able to select a health plan.