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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 R on
The system is NOT working. If you log out and return to the application later, data that has been saved can changed or non-existent. Sometimes it changes the data even while I am completing the form. One time I got to the review page and data that had been entered and saved was changed. Every time I go online to work on the application I must start at the very beginning and have to change information that had previously been entered or fill out information that had been erased. Some browsers don't work at all. If I use Firefox I cannot even select a state to start the application process. There is no box to select a state. I've been using Opera as a browser and I'm having better luck but I am still unable to complete an application.
Submitted by Terry on
I am a CAC in Georgia. I like the articles (answers to questions) available on healthcare.gov. However, I can't print them by clicking the print button at the top. It only prints about the first page, and the right margin is cut off. Can you help with this problem?
Submitted by pat on
why cant phone # be made available for HHR so that we can communicate directly with the persons that are trying to verify identity .It is the only way that it can be untile all the codes are been re written. we have to be able to talk with each department we don't mind if we are put on hold MR.President we need health coverage.
Submitted by Charlene on
these updates are extremely important and reassuring to those of us working in the communities to get people educated and enrolled. thanks for all of your hard work and we will succeed at this effort as a joint unit of folks eager to get the uninsured and underinsured healthcare coverage.
Submitted by Phillip on
The underlying problem isn't a website. Let's be honest, lots of corporate and niche social groups believe that you don't deserve health care if you are not as righteous or deserving as they are. Many of these same small minds talk about the sanctity of life. But, for some reason (go figure) that sacred life turns into a moocher as soon as it is crawling around and needs food or health care. They are then called lazy takers. If people on your staff pulled the iv out of your patient, reported false exam findings, shut off the EKG monitor, browned out the hospital and sent a rumor out that the food was contaminated with Salmonella in the hospital, imagine how things would go. Millions have been spent to mislead, create fear and discourage people from understanding the Affordable Care Act. There are clear differences in purposeful sabotage and errors of omission. If we can't figure that out and communicate that to the public then we are in the wrong business. All these pundits and politicians should stop whining and start paddling.
Submitted by Bob on
The main ID used in the ACA was established in the 1930's by our best computer processer of that day the U.S. Post Office and was called the Social Security Number! Back in the 1970's the government discovered it wasn't any good for identification purposes and told everybody just that, which didn't stop the IRS and all other government agencies for using it, but not for getting a passport you still need the old Birth Certificate for that, unless you can just walk across any border and vote, go to school, get free food and now health care. It's especially easy when you never filed a tax return and millions don't have to. When the system is "fixed" even if there is no verification process, where will we get the doctors and nurses and others to provide the care? When WHIO says were 7 million short of care givers, for some reason most think we don't need any here and that those we have are just waiting anxiously to give care to millions more for the lowest rate possible and that healthy people want to spend the most and not use it! Why, I can't imagine. W
Submitted by Will on
Fixed over the weekend and it took the government three years and hundreds of millions of dollars to build a failure? Please don't ask for understanding.
Submitted by Janet on
I am having an issue with correcting information on my application and am not able to move forward at all...the issue being my social security number.
Submitted by Annemarie on
Please issue this great information as a press release to broad print, TV, digital & social media distribution. This is a practical and helpful overview of progress being made & its good news is being drowned out by all the Republican attacks on ACA & daily media noise repeating these denigrating attacks. Thank you for the information
Submitted by Snerd on
What a bunch of crap! This idiotic thing will never work.