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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 Diane on
It all is going better but I can not finish the app; due to verify idenification??
Submitted by david on
I need to update the income for my application. Can I do that yet?
Submitted by Roger on
Instead of providing examples of small improvements, how about providing some bigger metrics? For instance, how many bugs at various priorities are there outstanding? How many bugs at various priorities were fixed in this release? Also, it would help if you would provide a comprehensive list of ALL fixes in the release. This could be a separate document because it could be large.
Submitted by Ana Rocabado on
I can not even open the window that says CREATE AN ACCOUNT. Why?
Submitted by christy on
When clicking on Create an Account, nothing happens
Submitted by Marlowe on
I have the same issues, tried all day. Tried chat line, useless and phone line not helpful. System should be taken down until working. No one has answers to a truly help.
Submitted by Elizabeth on
I had the same issue, but found that it was the explorer being used (with em it was Chrome), try using either Internet Explorer or Safari.
Submitted by Robert on
Having the same problem. I guess it's an improvement from before. At least you aren't re-entering your data over-and-over before getting that dreaded message "Your account could not be created at this time". :>)
Submitted by R on
What browser are you using?
Submitted by Bill on
I can't either. After the page "let's get started", it takes me to a log in page. There, on the button that says "create account", I hit it and NOTHING!
Submitted by Nancy on
I can't either. I can't create an account.
Submitted by Robert on
First - The Kaiser Family Foundation Subsidy Estimator STILL DOES NOT WORK. Second - Filling in info to get options or assistance ONLY cycles you back and does not advance. Third - How can one verify that any sudsidy provided is, in fact, correct to gauge costs. PROBABLY NONE !
Submitted by wany on
i am agent for primerica financial service
Submitted by steve on
I have an ID# but that is as far as I can get.
Submitted by JohnT on
It seems like the progress is slower than many would hope for, but it does appear there is SOME progress. A glaring outstanding issue is identity proofing - many individuals have uploaded documents to get through identity proofing because they could not complete the process in real time due to timeouts, etc. (I have had an account in "Identity verification pending" "Verification under review" for over a month now). How long should this process take?
Submitted by Tina on
Same with me too "Identity verification pending" "Verification under review" for almost a month!. How long should this process take?
Submitted by Chuck Bryant on
I was in this predicament too - waiting identity verification for over a month. So I started over from scratch with a different email address and account name. Now I'm just waiting for the insurance company to respond and arrange payments. But I've only been waiting for this an hour or two, so I have hope that I'll be covered Jan 1 2014
Submitted by Dan on
I filled out my application on the website Nov 5. But as of today, Nov 13, I have not been able to see the application, the plans, or enroll in any of them because I am stuck on the website page "Enroll To-Do List", and nothing I try will get me further - it keeps sending me back to the "what would you like to do?" page. It's an endless do-loop! Is there a 'help desk' I can contact for website problems specifically? Please help.
Submitted by Donna on
I just completed the application over the phone bc I was never able to Create Account. I need help being able to do that so when the application is processed everything will be ready... Any ideas, suggestions or help??
Submitted by R on
Another problem with the system, if I enter my name as it exactly appears on my Social Security Card the application rejects the entry. I must modify what I enter in order to continue.
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.