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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 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.
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.
Submitted by Gabriele on
I uploaded my driver license weeks ago....never got a reply....still my id is not verified.
Submitted by Jack on
Web Site will not allow me to "Log In". My browser says that the web site is not available or it cannot find it, when I enter my use name & password.
Submitted by TLB on
I have successfully completed our application but I'm having difficulty seeing the plans to be able to select a plan and pay premium. From what I'm reading you have to pay the premium by Dec 15 in order to have coverage on Jan 1st. Do you know how long its going to take to get that part of online system fixed?
Submitted by John on
For two weeks now, I have been getting the following error message: Error Unmarshalling Request Error ID: I have successfully applied for coverage and am at the step for "pick a plan" however, this message comes up every time I attempt Login and prevents me from seeing anything. Please add this to your list.
Submitted by mary on
So please fix accounts where id verification failed and communicate with us for what to do to move on. Also look at the current use of only one phone number by hotline to find your account records. I've used both cell and work numbers to call and be called back depending on which gets reception when and worry info on my calls isn't all stored together.
Submitted by mary on
I got stopped at identity verification. Experian verified my identity over the phone on oct 8 and. 25. That hasn't shown on my account. I uploaded drivers licence on oct 8 after experian verification didn't register. Drivers licence verification has not shown up. Advanced reconciliation team member could not go into my account and override verification. Application I started online is no longer linked on my profile. Did application over phone with ARC on 10 24. But no confirmatioj number available from the arc staff. When called hotline to check on whether application in progress, there is no record of that application
Submitted by Rob on
I created a account back on Oct. 4th and was verified and completed. Then me and many others got stuck after selecting a plan and actually enrolling. The final confirm page wouldn't move forward. So on Nov. 1st that changed and was able to actually enroll. The problem though is I waited until Nov. 4th after the outage that day to finish enrollment. Everything appeared to go through, I got the congratulations page and name of insurance company with phone number. So, now it shows me enrolled. But, I know someone at BCBS that I been talking to since Oct. and nothing has been sent to them. He did say they got a lot of applications on Nov. 4th. But that is the day I finished mine. My brother did the same thing on Nov. 2 and his application was received by the insurance company on Nov. 4th. Which is the same company I'm using, and same plan. Now, all I can hear from the useless marketplace reps is that I'm enrolled. BCBS tells me to explain to you someone needs to send the information again if it was sent already. That is the problem, nobody knows what you are doing. Plus the insurance company cannot call in to anyone. So, I been stuck for a soon to be 10 days with a application saying enrolled and I will be contacted. My guess is it will never be sent in because the website thinks it already has been. Someone needs to look into this problem and time is running out. I tell the Marketplace Reps and they claim to escalate it and someone will call me. Yet twice I have call in to check and see if there is a record of them doing it and both time I was told no. So now its been supposedly done again, which is the third time. So, in case you're not following me or even reading this. You have a problem with people finishing the enrollment and its not going to the insurance companies. I know some of insurance are being hard to deal with. But like I said, the person I'm talking to in my state for Bluechoice, with is part of BCBS is very good. He answers me fast and has a list of people when it comes in from ACA. He told me my problem had to be fixed at the Marketplace end. This is in SC. So, I don't know what you did over the weekend of Saturday night Nov. 2-5 but it broke something. Because my brother finish his around 8pm Nov. 2 and his and lots of others made it to Bluechoice in SC on Nov. 4th. They already processed it. But mine is in never never land. I cannot resend or create another account. It tells me I'm enrolled. Yes, I am enrolled on ACA but not with BlueChoice insurance. So how about getting it sent in. In other words, you have another problem. Also how about letting people actually talk to someone that can do something. There is no reason someone shouldn't be able to look at my account and sent it to the insurance company, but I have a feeling it will take forever for me to get this fixed, if I ever do. Because my application is setting there telling me I'm enrolled and has been sent in. Yet it hasn't been sent in and its been 10 days. Plus there is nobody to tell to send it in. The nice man at Bluechoice is very frustrated with all this also. Totally ridiculous that the insurance companies that want the applications cannot have access to someone that actually enrolled. Also he said its suppose to be a overnight thing to get a enrolled application. Basically the Marketplace Reps tell me that also. They act like I'm enrolled because the marketplace tells me I am. Its like they forget its just a middleman and useless unless it gets to the insurance. Really need to fix this problem, because its not giving a error or anything. The website thinks its finished. But its not at all.
Submitted by Danny on
The "Create Account" button seems to work for some but not others. Try to address what's causing this as soon as possible. For some of us, the button is a glorified piece of clip art that doesn't do anything.
Submitted by Glynis on
Using Internet Explorer or Chrome browsers seem to work better.
Submitted by doorknob on
@ Danny: I second Danny's concern. Create Account will not let me in. I do not even show that the program is in a loop or acting in any sort of fashion. (I am in Texas)