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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.


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 Lee on
Improving the user experience? What a joke. I can't even GET any experience at all. Can't get past the registration without it telling me there's a problem and ohhh maybe it was my username or email address. How about every single other website in the world that actually tells you if one of those is in use instead of guessing? Well it wasn't that. I've tried all kinds of complex combinations. Terrible. Shame on you all.
Submitted by ellyn on
why is it that i cannot make a life change on my submitted application. need to change the household income. application states starting nov.15,2013 household changes can be made. well as still as now i have still not able to change income status.
Submitted by ted on
It would probably help some frustrations if there was a place to see what problems are known and to report a specific problem. Understandably, volume is an issue, but right now, I keep seeing "we're making lots of improvements" but I don't see any of it.
Submitted by ted on
I got mostly through setting up an account my first time into the system ... 3 weeks ago. Now, when I try to log in I simply get the Log In screen again with no other info. If I type the wrong password, I get an error. The right password, nothing. I've contacted help resources twice, and there is no help. I can sit here and try to log in for hours, but it's simply never giving any response.
Submitted by GEORGE on
I created an account but I every time I log in and verify the account I get an error message without an error code number. I can not get past the stage of verifying my account and therefore I can not apply for medical insurance. Fix it ASAP. Thank you very much :)
Submitted by Tom on
Submitted by Brian on
My account was in limbo "pending identity verification" for the last month. Called Marketplace helpline to rectify the issue and they couldn't fix it. I had to apply over the phone.
Submitted by Max on
I've been trying for 6 weeks to get insurance. The phone people have submitted multiple applications because the applications get duplicated, don't get saved, are partially saved, etc etc. The web page still will not allow one to edit the page. My web application has me listed 3 times, I can't delete the copies that were put in by the program on its own. No one has called me back from advanced resolution since 25 October. Your phone people tell me one day I will be sent notification by mail, the next day by email, the next day by mail etc etc. There is still no place on the web site to read emails sent to applicants. When sent it says click here and one goes to the website but no lace to see emails. This has to be the most profoundly poorly set-up application process I have ever experienced anywhere in the world, the includes, Europe, India, Japan etc etc. If we don't get insurance and congress takes away affordable care it will be because the idiots that set up the website were all incompetents.
Submitted by Bob on
Nothing they are doing is actually working.
Submitted by Anonymous on
I've been trying to get into my eligibility results for a month now and still can't
Submitted by Michael on
I've led user experience teams in Silicon Valley and would like to help the team identify usability issues and suggest fixes. Is there a mechanism to submit detailed feedback to the design/dev team?
Submitted by bill on
I just got off a 2 HOUR phone call with healthcare.gov , Marketplace. 1-800-318-2596 with NO Resolution. The rep nor his supervisor was able to tell me why the tax credits are not showing up on my application or available insurance plans. ...... this has been going on for 4 weeks today .... mad & frustrated .....I set up my account on October 18, 2013. I was able to see the medical plans available but the program did not show my discounts I qualified for due to my income for 2013. .. now they say i have ....& was told by his supervisor that I had to send in an appeal request form. https://www.healthcare.gov/downloads/marketplace-appeal-request-form-a.pdf I told the rep that on the first line of the appeal form it states “you can also file an appeal by calling the Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596” ….. I told the rep that but his supervisor said I had to mail it in. I said the first line of the form says I can do it on the phone talking to them. I was told they knew of no process to do that. I had to mail in the appeal form. No one has been able to tell me if I did anything wrong on my application & why the program did not give me the tax discounts I qualify for. I get different answers every time I call & still no one can fix the problem with their system & my acount. I am so frustrated & mad that I have to jump through these hoops to sign up for obamacare. I still can’t believe I have to print out the appeal, mail it in for SOMETHING THAT IS NOT MY FAULT!!!!!!!!
Submitted by cliff on
Have tried many times to reenter my ss#,I made a mistake on one number.The site will not allow me to reenter the correct number.It just bring back the error box.There is no edit sign by that box.Lost do not know what to do,can not go any farther.
Submitted by Ryan L. on
I am so annoyed that I have to re-enter my personal information EVERY time the site fails to sign me up. Can you please use cookies or something to save my sign up info? Also the site requires me to repeat signing up for emails... I ALREADY did this. Now every time I try to get a login ID, I have to enter my email.
Submitted by Chuck Bryant on
I used Opera browser and it saved my login information.
Submitted by Sarah on
Ryan, the website does use cookies. Is there a chance your browser is set up to not accept them?
Submitted by Tricia on
Why can't you remove a person off your household portion of the application? I have made numerous phone calls to the help center, no help AT ALL. They told me a "specialist" will be calling me back within 2-5 business days, I'm WAITING....... I can't get past that part of the app until I remove my childs name that was put in there twice. Why not just give an option to cancel an app and create a new one? I might be done by now. Someone HEEELLLPPPPPPP!!!!
Submitted by Dean on
Wow what a piece of junk! I have been trying since day one, I am tired of re-entering information over and over....now I am at the enroll stage and I am staring at a blank screen with no information on it. Great work!!!! And they say it't is working? Where? Don't tell people you fixed it if you really haven't.
Submitted by Glynis on
Some people seeing blank pages are having luck by trying a different browser or different computer.
Submitted by carol on
On 10/18/13 I was able to complete my application, but just like everyone else cannot view my results. Now for the past seven days or so, I cannot even sign in. The sign in screen continues to pop up. My insurance has been canceled as of Jan 1st, and I need insurance. What are we to do if this software does not work! My current insurance company tells me I have to have insurance and pay the premium by Dec. 15th or I will not have insurance on Jan. 1st.
Submitted by Sarah on
I'm having the same problem that may others are posting about. Application done, and when trying to see the eligibility results the link is broken. I have called and used the online chat several times with no resolution. Becoming worried that I will miss whatever deadline it is to get coverage that starts Jan 1. My current privately-purchased policy is going up dramatically and I desperately need reasonable coverage.
Submitted by Glynis on
when you click on the Eligibility and Appeals link and scroll down to the bottom of the page is there are a Continue to Enrollment button?
Submitted by Anand on
Just curious before you were using Amazon cloud server or shared server? Good job !! IT people need big bonus this year for better project planning.
Submitted by Jacques on
I am.never sick but l do not have insurance either,my income about. 14.400 have 3 chidren under 26 age but lam singel .l want to know lam qualify for infortable hearthcare
Submitted by Rob again on
Really starting to worry now.11/15/13 halfway through the month and still can't create an account (tried over thousand times) To me it doesn't look good for the ACA. Oh well, we tried, I just wonder were we go from here. Looks like I will be paying $1250 a month until my money runs out, what a shame.