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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
Internet explorer and chrome browsers work the best. You can browse plans without creating an account. There's a See Plans Now button on the home page underneath the two green buttons. Also, people have recommended valuepenguin to look at plans.
Submitted by God on
Folks it could be a lot worse. To all the complainers, you could be living in the phillipines. Put this in perspective.
Submitted by Joanne on
Hi there. Thank you for all that you do. I just want this to succeed so please take feedback as constructive. I have 30 years IT experience with more than 10 in Healthcare IT and almost 10 in web development. I hope my comments are useful. I just completed a survey suggesting your next priority needs to be having well formatted print pages (or pdfs) so people can review the plans available off line. It is naive to expect users to review and sift through plan information without a hard copy or print out. Therefore, I am finding it impossible to keep the plans I am reviewing straight. I bet a team could put together pdfs for each of these plans showing all the information you see when you compare plans. Using the print button generates a print out that is totally meaningless and poorly formatted. I have been working on this all day and for some hours yesterday. All the links I clicked to see plan benefits and provider links were broken and I landed on an error page. I am using Google Chrome. I gave up on Internet Explorer after several buttons on the sign-on page appeared non-responsive. Some web sites do not do well with various browsers, but you can qc and error trap for that. I have initiated several chats to give feedback since there is no feedback link on the plan review page. One of the chat people used very poor grammar. This is not good. Possibly some additional spot screening of the chat scripts would be useful. Good luck with all this.
Submitted by Jennifer on
My eligibility results have been available since 10/3, and I still cannot see them. I've never seen a website so full of glitches. You must go back to those applications completed in the first few days and repair the link to the pdf results.
Submitted by Dan on
I began the application process on October 21st and couldnt even create an account. On the 25th I called and verbally applied. Called the following week and they had no record of the information collected. So gave it again and was told was being saved as a PDF and would get it through. 10 days later, still no progress. They (supervisor) wanted to take my information AGAIN today and I said NO! I've tried more than a dozen times to submit and keep getting page that says verification system down and have to reload all the information. They keep telling me to continue trying. The system is broken and nobody can help!! VERY FRUSTRATED!!
Submitted by Robin on
I have applied and viewed my eligibility results, but the screen goes blank every time I click to enroll. Sometimes, when I log in to try again, it even wants me to fill out the application part again. Seriously, it takes an hour to fill it out because it goes so slow anyway!
Submitted by Sheryl on
So many people are "frozen in place" with their application. When is someone going to help us??? All the tech people trying to make the site user friendly does not help those of us who are already stuck in limbo. How can we get unstuck? Please advise.
Submitted by Glynis on
For those frozen in place I have heard that people had success starting over from scratch by creating a new user name, password, and using a different email address. Also by using internet explorer and chrome browsers. Before you do that, delete your cookies and temporary internet files and restart your computer. Hope this helps.
Submitted by Chuck Bryant on
This worked for me. Thanks Glynis. My application was stuck at identity verification after my drivers license and passports were uploaded over a month ago. Today I started over and now I'm almost done - just waiting for the insurance company to get back to me about payment; which I don't expect them to do on a saturday night. As for my old "stuck" account and application, the live chat agent told me to ignore it. Just abandon the stuck account. If you don't access it for 30 days the system will supposedly delete it. I'd rather delete it, but oh well.
Submitted by Michael on
The only solution to our problem is to allow us to cancel our early applications. After a month, its obvious that our applications are locked in never never land. They are useless. They must allow us to start over with a paper application. That seems to be our only hope. Our applications are so messed up, we have the option to start again. This is the never ending story. They must give us a chance to start over.
Submitted by Julie Bataille on
Would lie to you?
Submitted by Sheryl on
I have uploaded my driver's license several times; I was told by customer service that I have several application I.D. numbers due to submitting multiple applications and this may be keeping me from moving forward. One submitted application was accepted and verified. I was told I will receive a subsidy. That is as far as I have gotten. I have not been able to look at and choose my insurance. Question: when will this problem of multiple applications be addressed? Why am I unable to see these applications and then delete the ones that are duplicates? I am beyond frustrated. All I want is affordable health insurance. Why is it that the customer care level people can look at the information, but not delete the wrong stuff? I have yet to talk to anyone, and I've gotten to the highest level of customer support, No one can do one thing to help me. Not one person can do anything. Who is in charge? Why can't customer service people help clean up people's enrollment information????
Submitted by Rob on
Something needs to be done fast if you expect to save this failed website, The dems are getting nervious and are about to jump ship and the repubs smell blood and want to kill it . If its not fixed pretty fast you may very well not need this site at all!!!
Submitted by Ann on
Like many others, I also have been trying since the beginning. Took two weeks to finally get my application in, and now since mid October shows application in progress. Also tells me I have messages, but can't figure out how to retrieve these so called messages. The site tells me I can view my eligibility results, but I click on it and a blank page loads. On line chat was useless as was speaking directly to a rep. She read from a script and couldn't tell me anything I didn't already know. So I continue to try day after day, several times a day with no success. Doesn't know if it makes any difference, but I am in New Jersey.
Submitted by Glynis on
Try using a different computer or using a different browser. Firefox seems to be causing problems for many people. Internet Explorer or Chrome seem to be working the best. Hope this helps.
Submitted by Brad on
Ann....I had the same issue.....Messages about my eligibility that my computer would not open. Then I signed in on my wife's laptop, and it allowed me to read the message. It was just a letter telling me that I qualified for a big subsidy, and to send income verification documents to Kentucky. Try using different computers.
Submitted by Michael on
Applied 10/10. Please don't tell people to call the 800# to correct or complete your application.Also do not believe that advanced resolution can fix your problem. They cannot access your application. After your first experiance with this group you will find out that it will be the last. They will promise to call you within four days.. They lie. AMEN
Submitted by Teressa on
My application keeps saying in process! I called into your contact number and they told me my application and enrollment were complete. I received a pdf letter stating that I am eligible, yet I am not able to see any plans for which I am eligible. When I click on one link it says that my application is incomplete and that I need to complete the application by adding household details. It will not allow me to do this. When I click on the application details link to complete and fill in the details, it takes me to a page that says my enrollment is complete. Which is it....is my enrollment "in Process"?.....is it not complete and I have to finish by adding household details???????....or is the "Enrollment Complete"????????? You cannot give me three different answers to the same question!!!!!!! I want one answer and I want this glitch in your website resolved so that I can see the plans that I am eligible for and some prices. Come on guys .......GET THIS FIXED!!!!!!!!
Submitted by joice on
So frustrating. I have not been able to view my results although I got email they were available, but NOW I CANNOT EVEN LOG IN!!!!!!
Submitted by nick on
Dear Mr. Zients, Speaking about your priorities for Nov. 30, what would you prefer: a healthcare.gov website that allows people to apply and enroll successfully in one attempt, albeit with (relatively) slow page loads, or a site that loads every page fast but has a percentage of unsuccessful enrollments?
Submitted by Maryann on
I have begun the application process several times. Each time that I return I have to essentially start at the beginning of the information I have already input, and re input some data, some seems to be saved. The big problem is that every time I get to the place where it asks whether my son is a full time student and then asks whether he has a parent who lives in the same state. When I click yes and hit save, the system locks up and goes no further. This has been a consistent problem for the last couple of weeks. I know this can be fixed. I have used the CHAT function but they were unable to help. Thanks!
Submitted by Laura on
I was able to fill out most of my application and it says its in progress now but asking for addtional information and when I press the green NEXT button is does nothing or advance me so I can give the information needed. I have been trying for the last week. Hope this helps and gives you one of the problem scenerios. Ill keep trying.
Submitted by Joey B. on
I should not have to sign in to view average plan costs in my area! Just my zip code!
Submitted by Anonymous on
That function is there. On the home page below the apply by phone and apply online buttons you should see a button with the words "see plans now" written in there. There is also a chart with plan names and premiums which you can find also on the home page by going to the buttom of the page and clicking "health plans" for individuals and families under the quick information tab.
Submitted by Melle on
Ok, something needs to read these comments and ACTUALLY make the required fixes. I've tried numerous times to register, log in and such. THIS SITE NEVER WORKS. People are fed up.