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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 Eddie on
I started the process on Oct.1 creating my account by 10:30 pm that night. I have submitted first a phone application on Oct. 4 with a representative who said I wouldreceive confirmation in a week or so but I received nothing. On Oct. 20 per converation with another rep., she had me do an online application and I am still waiting now on Nov. 13 for my app to be finished. I lose my previous insurance on Dec.31 so I hope to get on with my life shortly. Please let me know when I can go to step 3.
Submitted by doorknob on
@ Eddie; That does not encourage me! My husband lost his insurance, as the hi-risk state coverage ends in Dec. Was online all day and I could not even get an account. Because we"ve had to self insure, I am not certain whether he can join my son and I with our current insurance or whether we will be screwed and fall into the "grandfather" clause for his condition! So I am wondering if there is a gap in insurance due to this mess, how does that affect us?
Submitted by Laura on
What would be helpful is if the "create account" button worked. Can't do anything without it.
Submitted by Ken on
The site is working worse than it was a few weeks ago. I can log into my account but cannot see my profile or application status. Try to create a new account by clicking the "create account" button and absolutely nothing happens. The paper application says allow 5 weeks for processing and the phone application says to allow about one hour on the phone to complete it. No good choices.
Submitted by David on
How do I know If I m having problems logging in because of the web site or that it might be me doing something wrong?
Submitted by Pete G on
After repeated failures using the website I used the telephone feature to aid in the application process. My phone application was created on 10/30 and apparently it remains in process ~two weeks with no apparent progress. I have called on several ocassions in an attempt to get a status update. During a conversation on 11/8 I was told the application was complete and my enrollment options were in the mail. I called again on 11/12 because I had not received anything in the mail at which time I was told the application was being reviewed and I would receive a something in the mail within a couple of weeks. So not only does the web site not work but the telephone option is NO better. How can they tout application to enrollment should take ~an hour. Another fine example of good intentions GONE bad.
Submitted by Lyn on
I have an identity verification issue, Experian says that my identity has been verified but it wont let me through. I have received a letter asking that I upload private documents and since I wont do that because of your security issues this is a major problem for me. I am an insurance agent so why would I recommend clients to upload info and Experian tells me I am verified on her system but you say I am not. Humm.
Submitted by Leonor on
I have been trying to fill out the application online for two months and still can't do it. Now, it gives me an error message when it gets to the Income part of the application. And, the phone system isn't working either. It keeps hanging up on me. I need to find new insurance by Dec. 15 and I am running out of time. This is extremely frustrating.
Submitted by Mike on
I have been fighting the same bug for over 4 weeks now. the system will NOT let me set up groups so that my wife and I can have different policies. In fact, the website seems to have lost my wife entirely after accessing the "enroll to-do list" screen. Site right now claims I have ZERO groups. I need 2. Site will not let me change it, flips back to the "enroll to do list". I have spent over 50 hours on the POS website. Made over 10 calls to the call center. Over 5 live chats. I need this bug resolved. I have called in details on it (it morphs occasionally with interesting twists). I am a loyal democrat, but this is getting ridiculous.
Submitted by Uninsured on
I have created several accounts, am only able to log in to two of them at this point. For one of them, I uploaded my drivers license weeks ago to help verify my identity and never received any communications that my ID had been verified. For another, my identity was verified but I get no further than continuing my enrollment and submitting my electronic signature, time and time again, including just now. On my profile page, it says my identity has been verified but I am never presented with my eligibility results, just redirected to my main account page, with sometimes an error message shown briefly, other times not. I am out of email addresses and do not feel like creating yet another ID (would be my 5th). Please tell me this will be fixed.