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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 John on
How about working on people that are still waiting for their identity to be verified for over a month now. The marketplace phone number does no good. No one can see or do anything about it. My application just sits there not being verified, after I have uploaded AND mailed in proof of ID doc's. Over a month ago.
Submitted by Joanne Brown on
I gets medicaid by soical services in my area and isn't an afar of health care insur to cover what need when they close some some care that medicaid doesn't cover people like with me. In my cases i need health care and insured for my needs like for ( getting an hearing aids, new glasses, getting medical for high pressure, and all other things that medicaid seem not accepting to for. I need help! And more infromtion as well. Thank you, Mrs. Joanne Brown
Submitted by Dan on
It's been 4-weeks now, since I first entered the Marketplace, at which time I was actually able to establish an account, but that's about it, as my application seemingly froze, with no ability for me, or anyone else on the planet, to go either forward or backward for some 4-weeks now. So I finally gave up last week, at which time I filed a 2nd application over the phone, which actually went fairly well, until the system discovered that I now had 2 applications out there, which is a big no-no. So until such time as my 1st application is deleted, which as I stated before, "no one on the planet currently has the ability or authority to do", I'm stuck. Thankfully the Advanced Resolution Center within the Marketplace is well aware of the situation, the goal being that the Applicant will be able to make changes within ones own application by the end of November, which hopefully will unfreeze many of us. In the meantime, don't expect any return phone calls within the stated 2-5 business days, as I have yet to receive 1-return phone call in 4-weeks now. Bottom line is that I have spent approx. 200 hours so far, trying the phone, chat, email, & regular mail, virtually every day for 4-weeks now, with many promises, yet with not a single question being answered or problem solved. Yes, the Marketplace may be getting better for some of you, but some of us who started somewhat earlier, before the 200+ bugs were fixed, remain out of luck.
Submitted by Donna on
same here, can't get pass the review and confirm page for enrollment...keeps sending me back to dental coverage...which I don't want.....the review and confirm button is locked.....still waiting for those so- called phone calls
Submitted by Ted on
Many days and hours of ours wasted, weekdays, weekends and no success still. Only able to register and receive application reference number, and always noting "In Process". Would not allow us to enroll, will not come up with any further options to continue any further. Hours spent with "Live Chat" no results. They referred us back to the main phone number for "Support". Support assistant took our registration number etc. to acknowledge our existing application, and then putting us on hold, they referred to their in-house superior (?), just to advise still must be a glitch, please try to log in again at a later time. Current coverage dropped existing plan as of January 01, 2014, and new overly costly plan coverage of $13,000 per month and multi thousand dollar deductible is going to absorb any savings in a hurry, Then What?????
Submitted by Mary on
Where on the list is corrupted and stuck accounts? I have created multiple accounts and still am no where close to being enrolled. I have exhausted my stash of email accounts and do not want to create yet another one. Please clean up the issues with stuck accounts and please communicate if and when this will be fixed.
Submitted by Cindy on
For all the negativity, there are thousands of people with positive stories. Thank you President Obama!
Submitted by Dennis on
Thank you president Obama for throwing a few million insured under the bus. It has been a delightful experience trying to get insurance on Healthcare.gov.
Submitted by d.j. on
I have given all of the information needed and I'm in the system. Cannot log in to continue. Have been approved but no one can get my information in the system to tell me what to do next. Have been trying since October 1, and everyone that I talk to keeps putting me off and telling me to call back after 6:00pm so that when I call back, I'm told that they will contact me in a couple of days. I then call back and go through the same ordeal the next time. Everyone has a different excuse and are now getting beligerant at the drop of a hat. Who can I contact that can help me with my problem? I want to be able to start the new plan effective January 1.
Submitted by Wendy on
I can't get past the question "Does my name match my Social Security Card". It freezes up every time.
Submitted by Louise on
Really - apply by phone if you have online problems?! Tried that, they can't help....surprise...site down, again! Better yet, go in person, but when I try the link of the location, DuPage County Health Dept - the link is inoperable! So many choices, so much ineptness. And when it says I saved stuff, why isn't it saved. I get part way thru the app and it says site down or info not valid or or or...Then I spend another 10 minutes on lunch break filling it all out again! Really - just let me see the plans first!! Register me when I want to purchase.
Submitted by Will on
Julie - The site for me (NH resident) has the same problems it has had for weeks, and I still can't get in. First problem is that my identity doesn't get confirmed (have mailed in docs,uploaded docs...to no avail, and Experian doesn't recognize people who don't borrow $$, with therefore "incomplete" credit profiles.) The second is that no matter how many times I try to enter personal info, when I get to the point where I enter dependent info, there is a question about dependents going to schools and if a parent lives in the same state...when I answer, the questionnaire freezes and essentially ends. So I remain stuck finding it hard to believe that others can get past these roadblocks. I have dutifully reported these "bugs" several times via phone & to the chat staff. I have been assured that my escalated case will lead to a phone call to address the problems. No luck. Please find a way to direct this feedback to the proper bug fixers.
Submitted by Jan on
Here it is nov 18th and I still cannot get past the identity verification step. First 4 wks received error message to call Experian with ref # and no ref # given. Now it's an error message to callthe healthcare.gov 800 # again requesting a ref # and no ref # is given. Applied over the phone and haven;t received anything yet. googled insurance marketplace and medicare supplements are the only plans available. Call centers are not helpful just ppl hired to listen to complaints No solutions offeredat all. Waste of time and money both.
Submitted by Ron M on
We need to have a way to completely delete a profile and start again from scratch once it gets stuck. I've been trying since the first week in October to have my identity verified and sent ID a month ago. Was told a senior level person would deal with it in 2-5 business days, but not so. I tried a new profile with a different email address but it kept telling me I had the wrong password. I'm running out of email addresses. I guess I'll be one of those 20% who will never get this damned thing to work.
Submitted by Mike O on
I have the same problem in NC.
Submitted by Bin on
I have tried 7 days in a row, very time I got stuck at "More about this household" at " XX is a full time student?", regardless I choose yes or no, the "Save and Continue" button is NOT working. I have called rep many times, they can not help! last night, I called again let rep do it for me, after about 15 minutes, even rep's website was down. From the prevours comments I see a Florida customer also had exact same problem! If something is not complete, or not correct, at least it should tell, not just stuck there do nothing. I am still waiting when TT his will be fixed, so I can continue. SOS!!!!
Submitted by Anthony Miller on
The Website is much improved!!!
Submitted by Laura on
In Florida I am getting Http504 Http505 and says website unrecognized after I sign in,I can't get passed logging on,Help Please!
Submitted by Elizabeth on
Did anyone get any replies to their posts?
Submitted by dj on
Submitted by Elizabeth Fortun on
Hello. You quote of "we’ve made measurable progress," What progress he is talking about then I can't even continue with the application for two weeks. I faced this problem, asked for help, complained through the sight, to the government and to my representatives, called your help line - no help. The site is still dysfunctional. The same problem as before – inability to continue with application at Family & Household, section 4 – More about this household – question “Are any of these people full time students? Answer should be “None of these people”. I was not able to save and continue further. The site doesn't let to save and continue. You can fix it and let me continue. Your representatives on the phone are of no help to finish the application. Elizabeth Fortun Florida
Submitted by Glynis on
if it won't take the information you're putting in you'd be better off starting over by creating a new account with a new username, new password, and new email address. First delete your cookies and temporary internet files. Then close and reopen your browser. Internet explorer, Chrome, and Safari browsers work better than FireFox. If you don't know how to delete cookies and temporary files there are instructions for that on the login page by clicking "Having trouble logging in?" on the bottom left side of the page. Scroll down to the "More Answers" drop down box at the bottom of the page. When things won't save or you get stuck on a step it's likely that something in your file got corrupted and can't be fixed that's why you'd need to create a new account. You can't just create a new application in the same account because that would confuse things even more. Create an entirely new account. It's a hassle but probably not worse than the frustration you're experiencing currently. Hope this helps.
Submitted by Beth on
Sure enough, I was finally able to log back last night and this morning and choose a plan. My enrollment is showing up complete. Yay! However, I had to leave the computer when the page to pay the initial premium was up. When I returned, I had to log in again, and nowhere can I find where to pay my initial premium. It takes me back to choosing a dental plan or not, and I choose not, and then cannot proceed beyond, because it is locked. But where do I pay?!
Submitted by Glynis on
If you have an application that has errors, or you are stuck in a certain place, or you end up in a loop then create a new account with a new username, password, and email address. Earlier applications got corrupted because of the problems on the website. You can just ignore a previous application, you don't have to delete it. Nothing will happen if it just stays there. Before you create a new account delete your cookies and temporary internet files. If buttons won't click or pages don't appear it may be due to something with the browser you are using or the way your computer is set up. Make sure that you don't have any kind of ad or script blocking software running that is interfering, delete your cookies and temporary internet files, and if you use IE make sure you set it from automatic to check for newer version of pages each time you visit the web page (you do that at the same place you delete the temporary internet files except instead of the delete button you click on the settings button). If you don't know how to delete cookies or temporary files, click on the link on the login page that says "Having trouble logging in?" at the bottom left. Scroll down the page and it will give you more information about how to do these things. Sometimes just using a different browser or even a different computer works too. If you are just too frustrated by all the computer problems to try it that way again, then apply by phone or go to your nearest Walgreens or CVS pharmacy because they are helping people apply. Hope this helps.
Submitted by Colleen on
Glynis, thank you for all your helpful posts. Other people who can help you are independent insurance agents or even your local insurance people, if they have been trained. I have made numerous phone calls to the 211 number in two states, the federal phone number, the healthcare.gov Advanced Resolution Center, and the healthcare.gov online chat. None of them knew 1/10 as much as my local Blue Cross Blue Shield agent. Having an independent insurance agent or other insurance agent help you will not cost you anything.