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Making Measurable Progress

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Friday, November 15, 2013

Today, Jeff Zients offered an update on our efforts to improve HealthCare.gov.  In Jeff’s own words –

Overall, we’ve made measurable progress, as the changes and improvements we’ve made over the last few weeks are having a positive impact on system performance and user experience. The Marketplace system was stable all week, with no unscheduled outages. And for most users, speed and response times were generally good, and error rates were low. In total, we now have crossed more than 200 bug fixes off of our punch list.

Here is an update on where we are at the end of the week:

As we stated last week, two of our key operating metrics are response time and error rate.

Response time is how fast the system responds to user's requests. For the first few weeks after the site launched, we estimate that users were waiting an average of eight seconds for pages across the site to load.

This past week, average response times for most users remained under 1 second.

The other critical metric is the site’s error rate, a measure of the frequency, on a per page basis, of system time outs or failures that prevent the user from advancing to the next page or result in users receiving error messages.

Last Friday, we reported that we had reduced the error rate to 2% down from 6% a few weeks earlier.

This week, by continuing to eliminate glitches and execute software bug fixes, we’ve driven the error rate down to under 1%.

So, on both of these key metrics, response times and error rates, we’ve made measurable progress.

But we still have a lot of work ahead of us.

In the last week, volume on the site increased significantly, both in the number of users and user levels of activity; whether viewing pages or completing stages of the process. During peak periods of volume, some users experienced slower response times.

The increased volumes are a good sign, as they indicate the bug fixes and improvements we’ve made are allowing more consumers to move through the site.

But we clearly need the system to perform reliably with fast response times at higher volumes. This is a key focus of our work now, which we are addressing with additional hardware and infrastructure upgrades, starting this weekend. We will be bringing additional servers online, as well as additional database capacity and data storage. With these upgrades, we will significantly increase the system’s capacity and allow us to maintain good speed and response times at higher volumes.

On the software front, in the last week we have crossed more than 60 improvements and bug fixes off our punchlist, including:

  • Adding visual cues to Plan Compare screens to help consumers make the best plan selection.
  • Improving Direct Enrollment functionality to help consumers move back and forth to issuers’ websites.
  • Fixing a glitch that was preventing some consumers in Pennsylvania from moving through the shopping experience.

In total, we now have crossed more than 200 bug fixes off of our punch list.

For next week, we have a prioritized list of 50 additional fixes and improvements that we’re focused on.

There is still a lot of work to be done to continue to improve the system and user experience. And it’s likely that as we move forward we will find additional glitches and experience intermittent periods of sub-optimal performance.

But we are making measurable progress.

And our bottom line continues to be that by the end of November, we expect to have the site working smoothly for the vast majority of users.

As the President said yesterday, not all consumers going on the website will have a seamless experience. We will continue to improve the site beyond the end of the month.

Most people who use the site will have it operate the way it is supposed to. But it’s important to know that even with a well-functioning website, there are going to be people who need additional help.

Whether it’s due to some complexity in individuals’ particular situations or needs, or simply because buying insurance is a big, complicated decision, some will prefer to get assistance in thinking it through.

So while we are focused on making the site work smoothly for the vast majority of users, the team is also working to make sure we are doing everything we can to give people more assistance in the application process through our call centers and available in-person assistance.


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 Marcia on
This is an example of a failed chat session with the Obamacare live chat representatitves. Two people came into the chat and left without even answering my questions!! [3:50:20 pm]: Thanks for contacting Health Insurance Marketplace Live Chat. Please wait while we connect you to someone who can help. [3:50:29 pm]: Please be patient while we're helping other people. [3:52:04 pm]: Please be patient while we're helping other people. [3:53:37 pm]: Please be patient while we're helping other people. [3:55:09 pm]: Please be patient while we're helping other people. [3:56:45 pm]: Please be patient while we're helping other people. [3:57:30 pm]: Welcome! You're now connected to Health Insurance Marketplace Live Chat. Thanks for contacting us. My name is Keosha. To protect your privacy, please don't provide any personal information, like Social Security Number, or any other sensitive medical or personal information. [4:01:14 pm]: Marcia Hello, my enrollment page is showing this message: Review your Application Details in your Marketplace account to resolve any outstanding issues with your application. Issues with your application must be resolved to keep your coverage.) I did upload the needed information and it does not move on, all my other enrollment steps are locked. Will this stay like this until my uploaded documents are verified or what? [4:02:10 pm]: 'Keosha' has left the chat session. [4:02:18 pm]: Please be patient while we're helping other people. [4:02:46 pm]: Marcia I was able to complete the "Set premium tax credit usage" tab by clicking on the green "set" button, but the other tabs are locked. [4:03:08 pm]: 'Chad' has left the chat session. [4:03:13 pm]: Your chat session is over. Thanks for contacting us, and we hope we've answered your questions. Have a great day. [4:03:13 pm]: 12/20/2013
Submitted by Louise on
I too have been disconnected from chat without having my question answered or even addressed. Eventually, I reached an agent who addressed my concern and gave me an answer. This needs to be handled ASAP!
Submitted by Jennifer on
I am now having even more problems trying to complete my application. When I got to the dependents section, it first told me I needed to answer a question that wasn't even on the page. So, I reloaded the page and it took my son off from the choices. The only choice is "someone else" and when I check that and put in my son's information it tells me that it already has my son's information and I need to enter a new person or uncheck the "someone else" box. But, when I uncheck that box, it tells me I have to make a choice, but that is the only choice. So, I can not complete my application.
Submitted by SeanO on
same here I have been trying to get past the basic signup/apply..i faxed my ID and since 10/1 everday I input all the answers such as my income,dependents etc ad get to the end it says........ I am not able to have my application processed due to "they" whoever "they" are cannot verify my identity and to check back within 24 hours and it should be corrected. today is 12/9 and still always the same thing since 10-1-13 guess I need to just file the exempt and go without insurance as Florida did not expand medicade/medicare...
Submitted by deb on
No longer getting error message but now i can't even log in. it just keeps going back to a blank log in screen :(
Submitted by Crystal on
Please HealthCare.gov - I need help. I've tried to enroll, but it says I'm eligible for the Healthy Indiana Plan or Hoosier Healthwise. I'm not. I have no children so I can't get the Hoosier HW. And I make more than 100% of the poverty level and that excludes me from the HIP according to their current guidelines. I've mailed an appeal, I've called the phone number. I was supposed to hear from a case manager last week but they never called. I NEED to get insurance ASAP. What can you do to help me?
Submitted by Baile Barnes on
Why can I not get the details on each category without giving up my SSN? No access online to that info nor when I called the 800 number. I was willing to give them my age, salary, state, etc. but NOT my SSN. I only wanted the information on each category, bronze, silver, etc. This is all bullshit, a waste of time and major money. Get rid of it.
Submitted by Paul on
The call-center call-representatives are utterly pathetic, unintelligent, fools who, IF they answer your call, do nothing but provide canned responses and leave you more frustrated than when you began the application/enrollment process. All I need to know is whether I'll be able to proceed past the Error ID:500.301533 I continue to receive each time I attempt to enroll. If not, tell me no! But don't leave me in the call queue for over 10 minutes, answer while your phone is on MUTE, and then realize your own stupidity and hang-up on me!!! IDIOTS!
Submitted by Sam on
I have been trying to enroll since October 1st. This website is terrible. I cannot Log In on Google Chrome with the account I created. I cannot Log In on IE under the account I created. So I created a new account. Still cannot log in in Chrome, but can log in on IE. So I filled out the application. Went all the way to Review and Sign. Says it went through but it did not. Now it tells me that the identity of my dependent cannot be verified. It says the SSN number is not correct. Well guess what, it is correct. I have gone back and changed everything about the dependent, same thing occurs. I have tried to delete the dependent, wont let me. Very frustrating!!!!
Submitted by MIke on
I have been trying to enroll practically daily since October 1st. I have 3 website applications and one phone applications submitted. All of these have problems. The first website application thought I had been incarcerated (I have never been arrested). The second website application goes all the way through, but the premiums and coverages (such as out of pocket maximums) are all 1/2 of what they should be (I am applying for me and my wife and we are concerned that only one of us will be covered if we enroll). The third web application and the phone application were never approved. I am now being told that my problems are due to having multiple applications submitted (early on, they told me to submit multiple applications). When I called the Marketplace on 11/15, I was also told that a "Marketplace Escalation Team" would call me between 7 and 10 AM in the next 5 business days. They never called me (it is now 1/29). I was also told that there is absolutely no to talk to who deals with website problems. Those people are all working on fixing website problems. I have not confidence that this will be resolved by 12/23. I must have coverage by 1/1/14 as my COBRA ends on that date. If I apply directly to the provider, my premiums go from $2000/year to $1400/year.
Submitted by Pamela on
Name: Pamela Zipcode: 76053 I am not sure who to go to with my frustration. The Market Place website is my issue. I have been trying to see how much premium assistance I qualify for in helping me pay the premiums on the health plan I will be applying for. The first attempt was filling out the application on 10/02/2013 on the website. At the end of the application the message says I am not able to have my application processed due to "they" whoever "they" are cannot verify my identity and to check back within 24 hours and it should be corrected. They system did allow me to forward a copy of my voter registration card to identify myself. I sent that over 4-5 times. This message I have received for two months now but at one point the system would not let me log into the website for approximately three weeks. I called the help number and the rep said we would have to do an application over the phone-the application was done by phone on 10/12/2013. I waited for 10 days and on 10/22/2013 called to check on the application but rep said the previous rep did not save the application correctly and I would need to do another one today over the phone. Ok I did. On 10/28/2013 supervisor Alana Davis said she saw the application and it had been completed and I should hear the decision within three weeks. On 11/12/2013 I called again and Rep Andrew said I should hear within 48 hours. No contact was made to me. On 11/18/2013 Supervisor Holly said she did not understand what was going on with my application and would route the information over to "The Resolution Department" and I should hear back within five days. No contact made to me. On 11/23/2013 Supervisor Jeanine Brown said she does not know what has happened to my application but she will send another notice to "The Resolution Department" again. So here I am still waiting for someone whoever that might be to contact me and tell me something that all the other reps have told me "you should hear back in ????days????weeks????months. There is a problem--there is no one in charge--only reps that are reading scripts that "they are sorry for my inconvenience and they understand my frustration". Do they? Do they really? The chain of comand in these offices at the 800 number is the front line reps and then a supervisor but no managers, no one higher. None of them have any answers except for the script they are all reading from. I need help because I am becoming more and more frustrated no make that just plain angry. Going without health insurance is looking better and better for me. If I do not get help very soon, that will probably be the direction I will be forced to take.
Submitted by Michael on
I was successful at healthcare.gov and enrolled in a gold program for $375 per month. My old insurance cost twice that and I was informed it would jump to $992 per month in 2014. My original healthcare.gov application from early Oct was stuck in the identify verification and the trick was to simply start over and create a new user id account. The process then went very smoothly. I urge others to start over if you have an old application that is stuck and no one seems to be able to fix it. The only thing not working still is there is no place to view the message notices. I have alerts telling me there are messages and no where to click to read them. I do not have pop up messages blocked on Safari. I also tried logging in with windows IE but no luck there. But despite that minor problem I am successfully enrolled. It is a world of difference to no longer fill out health histories or be interviewed and screened for that. All that expense insurance companies spent on screening and excluding pre-existing conditions can now be be spent on covering healthcare.
Submitted by Tammy on
Unfortunately, I am having many problems completing my application. I just wanted to share them with the tech side, so that you may add them to your bug list. In particular, 2 fields keep changing on me. I will fill it out correctly but when I get to the review page the information will be different. The 2 in particular are the Do you plan to file a 2014 tax return? Of course, I put yes, I file a joint return, but I get to the review page and it will say no. Also, under my son's name it originally listed both parents and then I will get to the review page and it will only have 1 parent. I have gone back multiple times to fix and it will change again. Also, the edit button on the review page does not work and I had to go through the whole application to fix, only to have it change it on the review form. As of today, I cannot even edit the review form at all. It keeps going in a circle. The change of information scares me and I plan to print my review form once it's working properly. Just be sure to check your information carefully before you submit and sign until these bugs are worked out.
Submitted by Sterling on
Error ID:500.301533 I get this error when trying to "enroll" Why is it that someone in a call center can see and apply my tax credits and compare plans but I can't?
Submitted by Paul on
I too am receiving the Error ID:500.301533 and the call center and online chat support are, of course, of NO help.
Submitted by JOHN on
Still get error message Error ID:500.301533 and can't enroll. Website is still useless as far as I am concerned. So much for December 1st fix.
Submitted by Jason on
I see this error message too. I login twice per day to see if they fixed it, but the error still persists each time. I have not called the call-center yet.
Submitted by Praiabrava on
Same error. Call center says they expect to have it resolved later today, though it sounded more like a canned response. For the record, employed, don't qualify for subsidies, but the coverage I could get for my kids is far better than what I get through my employer's insurance, at a similar price, even after considering loosing the tax incentives (employer coverage paid pretax).
Submitted by Kevin on
I have received the error, Error ID:500.301533, and called the call-center. She said she could not do anything about it. She told me to just keep trying.
Submitted by Cory on
I've been told the same thing. Here it is Dec 8th and still trying multiple times a day I can't get through.
Submitted by Cathy on
Sounds great. I have two friends on HRSP who were able to get on the site, work through the process to see the plans available to them in less than an hour. They were thrilled. I have another friend, who was facing her life cap, who was able to get on the site and select a plan that fits her needs in 40 minutes - very excited. Good news all around from my vantage point!
Submitted by Jenny on
I successfully completed my application about a week ago. (Which I now see may have been nothing short of a miracle!) Problem is I am now realizing I reported my husband's income incorrectly. Which takes us from a $232 tax credit to a $57 credit. I can't do anything to fix the mistake on my application. I've called the 1-800 number, my Blue Cross Blue Shield rep, my local congressman's office, and my state senators offices. Congressman Crawford's staff have bent over backwards to help me, but to no avail!! No one from the HHS or heathcare.gov will speak to them either. Same for my local BCBS office. Great helpful folks, just can't get through the red tape. I've been told not to call back on the 1-800 number. Really, the mistake on the application is due to the online help support I got while filling out the application. What a shame! Now my option is to take out an inferior plan to make up the difference for the tax credit I won't receive because the error can't be fixed.
Submitted by Charles on
I have tried 14 times to complete the sign up for my wife and I.The system crashes every time just before the income portion of the application. Please Help!
Submitted by Linda on
I posted a copy of my drivers liense as a verification of my identity. I'm seeing a message that a notification is available regarding my verification, but I can't access the notification. Is there a bug fix pending in this area?
Submitted by Anonymous on
Started app with a sit down navigator second week of Oct. Filled out paper app, mailed it certified mail. Marketplace received it 4 days later. Five wks later still no response. Called 800 # . First two navigators disconnected me. Third one said they had no app for me. She and I filled out another app on line. My spouse and I are 59 years old. We have paid for private insurance for 20 years. BCBS of Michigan sent letter saying they were discontinuing our policy as of Dec 31, 2013. The results were: ,You qualify for Medicaid. As of now, you are not eligible for Medicaid. Unfortunately you do not qualify for subsidy, but you can purchase insurance through the Marketplace". We have annual income of $10,000. We have more than $3,000.00 in bank so we are not eligible for Medicaid in Michigan. The marketplace place insurance for us was anywhere from $1000 to $1600 a month with deductibles of $300 - $12,700 and out of pocket expense of $10,000 to $12,700. We retired to take care of my parents and special needs brother. We sold our house so we'd have money to live out our lives. Any suggestions? We cannot afford up to $28,000 a year for insurance.