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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 Glynis on
Did you try to call the 800 number and apply over the phone?
Submitted by Heather on
Still can't view my eligibility results, even though it says they're ready. Still can't view the notices it keeps saying I have. Still seeing the system switch my profile back to receive notices on healthcare.gov, even after I change it to email notices (since I can't access the notices on the site) -- every time. Still have multiple extra dependents that I can't get rid of. Still have the system trying to force me to select two plans for each person (including for my spouse, who doesn't need insurance, for the extra phantom dependents!). Chat is still useless, customer support is still useless... what about us? What about the people who are stuck in an application that's clearly broken, and nobody knows how to fix it? I'd be perfectly happy just starting over, but nobody can get rid of this application for me!
Submitted by Glynis on
you don't need to get rid of the application. You can start over and I've read that many people have had more success starting from scratch by creating a new account with a new user name, password, and email address. They started by deleting cookies and temporary internet files, and then restarting their computers. Internet explorer and chrome browsers seem to have less problems as well. Hope it helps.
Submitted by Jill on
I keep seeing dont worry about deleting an old application. I dont like the idea or the logic behind that statement. Its just not a wise idea to have several thousand peoples personal information floating around in limbo. Thanks for the info on how to restart the process. but fix the issue with the old application first.
Submitted by Tammy on
There is no where to login to check status of your account
Submitted by Jeff on
Does anyone with HealthCare.gov. read this blog? I have read many, many comments from people having the same problem I am having. After completing the application, you receive e-mails that you can't open, click on view results that brings up an http 400 bad results page, go back and click on continue to enrollment which takes you to a blank page. I'm stuck. It won't let me start a new application, and calling the phone center is a complete waste of time. They tell you to keep trying online! What a joke. I have tried hundreds of times!
Submitted by Anonymous on
You must've been getting representatives from Texas or Florida telling you that.
Submitted by Glynis on
I have heard that people who have had problems have more luck when they start over from scratch by selecting a new user name, password, and email address. Internet Explorer or Chrome browsers seem to work better. People using FireFox have had trouble clicking buttons and links. Also, before starting over clear your computer cookies and temporary internet files and then restart your computer. Hope this helps.
Submitted by Carla on
Jeff they do not read or hear anything. Here is my story. Have been registered for over 30 days. That day while online, I called the 800# to notify them that my application was a mess. The application says I qualify for Medicaid. I notified them I do not because my total income is 2.25 times the poverty level. The application says I do not qualify for a tax credit. Kaiser calculator and every other calculator I've tried says I do. I have tried every day for a month to correct the application. No can do. My incorrect application is still in progress. I ve yet to gain access to any health plans on line. Advanced Resolutions DO NOT call as promised. Received a paper application in the mail. It does not match the on line application. Please allow us to cancel our existing applications and start over.
Submitted by Ben on
I am stuck on the identity verification step, since the beginning of October, after several phone calls trying to resolve the situation, after uploading documents, after physically mailing in copies of documents, and nothing ever changes. And this is just the first step!
Submitted by Tammy on
Same here Ben. They lock you out of completed application so you cannot get the original reference number needed for Experian to verify immediately. Advanced escalation resolution does not call you back and I finally spoke with a supervisor who told me do not listen to the 2-5 days or 7 days for them to get back with you. She says she has no idea how long it will take before call will returned to check into resolving "pending verification" and that there is nothing else to do since documents uploaded were received just not processed. This is absurd!
Submitted by Brian on
For what it's worth I had the same problem and was very frustrated. Around the first of November I decided to create a new account and start all over again. I did need to use a different email address to create the account. Once I did I went through the process of filling out the application and this time when I got to the identity verification step it worked. Now I am able to view the insurance plans available to me. I have not picked one yet. I hope when I do that I wont encounter some new problems. I hope this helps.
Submitted by Susan on
We have made it to the Enrollment portion of the application, however, inspite of us selecting a plan for both , my husband and myself, the application still shows that my husband has to select a plan. When we click ot enroll, nothing happens! We have been stuck with this for days. We have an application ID. Is'nt there any specialist, that we can email, they can review the point at which we are at a standstill, and get us going to finish the enrollment. I am sure, there are several people that are stuck like this, we just need a few minutes of someone's time, that really knows what to do!
Submitted by cindy on
I too have been trying to get the message about my eligibility results. Last month I was entitled to $441 credit, then it went dow to $358., now it is down to $355. If I take the $6500 deductible plan, the only one who will probably ever get any benefit is the insurance company. Very disappointed.
Submitted by mark on
I love this site! Keep up the good work!
Submitted by Leola on
I have been trying at least 30 times since October 1st to sign up for Health Care. I have tried on line. I have performed live chat, I have called Equifax, and finally I called in an application. After I called in she told me that I would receive the information in the mail of the Insurance companies that I can choose from. She also told me that I should be able to go on line and view the options I have within 4 business days. It has been over 4 business days. I still can not get past " your application is incomplete" and "In progress" It has been in progress since 10/14/2013.
Submitted by Jennifer on
After multiple attempts on the PA website, still have not been able to verify my application. I get all the way through and then it says the verification system is not working currently, after having spent like 45 minutes each time reviewing each piece of submitted information that it forces me to go through again and again (sometimes having to completely re-enter the information, even though it's already been "saved" multpile times). And there is no place to retreive any so-called messages that I keep getting emails for. Driving me mad!
Submitted by Glynis on
you retrieve messages by clicking on your profile.
Submitted by Keith on
No problem submitting application on Oct 10. I am at 200% of poverty level for family of 3. ACA determined I am eligible for Medicaid in state of Alabama. I have tried everything I know to do to solve this problem, even contacting my congressman. He is unable to find any answers too. Guess I will just have to be happy to have Medicaid.
Submitted by Web Dev on
You guys need to stop whining and be patient. Why do you think a mere $600 million dollars would be enough for the government to create a web site? Clearly we need to hold less accountability from our politicians and throw more money at it, just like education. Maybe a few billion more should fix it.
Submitted by K on
Please fix the "view eligibility results"link. I get a page saying "Sorry we can not find that page on healthcare.gov.". I have been having this problem for a month. I can not view my notices I received either.
Submitted by Susan on
I am another "frozen in place" applicant. I (finally) completed registration and then got to the point where I needed to submit proof of employment. I made arrangements to do so; however since then (2 weeks) have not been able to continue enrollment. I (eventually) get to the "complete enrollment" button, but when I click on it, it circles me back to the "view your accounts" page, where it tells me I have a notice available about my eligibility, but no way to access that notice. So I'm just spinning my wheels here, and based on the reports of trying to apply by phone, not really willing to try that, either. Guess I'll give it a few more weeks and hope the website gets fixed.
Submitted by Glynis on
to view your messages you click on your profile.
Submitted by James on
From Michigan - Live Chat doesn't work (used to). Lists of providers not available (used to be). My application is stuck in an endless loop at the dental coverage selection point. Will not accept my selection. Took me until October 23rd to start the application process due to technical difficulties and it's taken 22 days to get me this far.
Submitted by Mark on
I can't even register an account on the marketplace. The button for registering on the Step 1 page does nothing, not even loading anything in my browser that I can see. It's almost as though the button is disabled. My garbage insurance through work's enrollment deadline is just a few days away and I really wanted to look at the options here before then.