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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 Lita on
Seems this program is not compatible with Apple?
Submitted by Colleen on
Yes it is. I use a Mac. I only get blank pages with Safari, but I have had better luck using Firefox. It might depend on your operating system and/or versions of web browsers. There are any number of browsers you can try: Safari, Firefox, Chrome are the most popular ones, and there are others.
Submitted by MZ on
Your website is not allowing to login, receiving error message. Have to tried to apply for an eligibility credit since Nov. 4th with no success, complete failure. An error occurred while processing your request. Reference #97.c8c58f18.1384659237.1653c0c
Submitted by Amber on
My daughter applied over the phone on October 27th, no e-mail, no paperwork in the mail as of Nov.16th, multiple calls to healthcare.gov, they can't pull her up in system !!!! Very frustrated.
Submitted by Glynis on
Since the phone people were using the same system to fill out applications the same corruption of files that was going on in Oct for people applying themselves probably happened to phone applications. The best thing would be to do a new application. If they can't find it that shouldn't be a problem to reapply.
Submitted by Anonymous on
Glynis, this is not necessarily true. Those who completed an application by phone in the first two weeks of October will not need to begin a new application or create a new account unless they are notified to do so in the next 5 - 10 days. The applications that were completed by phone are being processed. If you completed an application online during this time and continue to experience glitches this will not apply to you.
Submitted by Debbie on
I have had an application since the beginning of October. There is an error on my account. I cannot log on: when I choose the option to have my ID/password emailed, the system does not email. I cannot proceed to the enrollment process. I have followed all the instructions concerning my browser. I have talked to 4 supervisors since October. Each supervisor has promised an Advanced Resolution Specialist will contact me with 2-5 business days. I have not been contacted. My insurance policy will convert to one they have picked out for me which is $160 more per month with a higher deductible and higher copays. I have until Dec. 15th and time is running out!
Submitted by Colleen on
When I was trying to apply in October, I talked to two federal phone people who were nice, but clueless. One of them promised an advance resolution specialist would call me back within two days. I was unsurprised to not receive that call. However, I WAS pleasantly surprised when they did call me back after two weeks had passed. Unfortunately, their advice was not nearly as good as what Glynis is offering here. They insisted I needed to fill out the appeals form (the finding of which is a challenge in itself) and mail it to Kentucky. Needless to say, I am proceeding with the new account technique.
Submitted by Glynis on
Create a new account with a new username, new password, and new email address and then start a new application. Delete your cookies and temporary internet files first. Those early October files got corrupted and can't be fixed.
Submitted by Christine on
One day, as I'm sitting on the porch with my husband, completely recovered from a life-saving surgery, enjoying the company of our great-grandchildren, one of whom battled cancer and won; we'll look back on this rocky start with an affectionate chuckle because, for all the scandal the glitch-ridden launch caused at the time, it was a small price to pay. The President's Legacy is intact. I appreciate the work you all are doing to fix things, and so will everyone else...eventually. :)
Submitted by Wendy on
Beautiful sentiments! My thoughts exactly!! Thanks for your positive attitude!!
Submitted by La Vella on
Keep up the hard work. Stay focused. There are millions of people you are directly serving and you will help to save lives. Thank you for all your efforts.
Submitted by Andy on
Thanks for the info. The media's shrill hyperbole and speculations are nauseating. The public needs simple numbers, facts.
Submitted by Joyce on
You need to fix the birth certificate glitch.....It wants more proof your a citizen,so you download your birth certificate and weeks later,it tells you that you have a message from the Market place,and it's the same message that they need proof your a citizen,so my status has been in "progress"for weeks.
Submitted by Glynis on
If you started an application in October it might be better for you to just create a new account and start over. There were verification problems with Experian in October that are now fixed and people are not having this same problem anymore. Delete your cookies and temporary internet files before you create a new account. And use internet explorer, chrome or safari browsers. Firefox is causing problems for many.
Submitted by Susan Clappe on
How about the ability to delete wrong information that was already entered. I can't finish my app.because some info is wrong and it won't let me take it out
Submitted by Cori on
I agree here -- I need to change some and it will not let me go back and re-enter :(
Submitted by Glynis on
You can't fix an application. The only thing you can do is create a new account with a new username, new password, and new email address and start over.
Submitted by Calli on
Have account since Nov 2. Verified and eligible for tax credits. STILL not able to enroll (New Mexico). Blank page.
Submitted by Colleen on
Try a different web browser. Safari on my Mac just gives me lots of blank pages. When I use Firefox I can actually see the contents.
Submitted by Ron on
Submitted by Dennis on
How will success be quantified on December 1?
Submitted by George on
I completed my Florida application on 10/17/2013, but I can't determine it's status on the Marketplace. One page shows it is in progress, another shows it is complete and provides an erroneous eligibility letter, and a third page states there are problems with the application I need to fix however I can't access my application to see what fixes I need to make.
Submitted by Nikki on
Yesterday I finally got in only to now just go round and round in circles. I'm being told my enrollment is incomplete and yet I can't see my application. I click on resume enrollment and am just taken back to the same page. So there's another glitch, another error! I'm stuck...can't move forward.
Submitted by Glynis on
So when you click on Resume Enrollment it doesn't take you to a page that says Enroll To-Do List? Try deleting your cookies and temporary internet files. If you use IE make sure you change the setting from automatic to have it get new pages each time you visit the webpage. That's in the same place you delete temporary internet files except you click on the "settings" button next to the "delete" button. The setting you want is the first radio button. Internet Explorer, Chrome, and Safari browsers are having less problems. Sometimes using a different computer helps. Also make sure you don't have any ad or script blocking applications running because they can interfere. It's not always a website or application that causes problems sometimes it's settings in the browser or on the computer you're using or other applications that are running that are interfering. That's why switching browsers or using a different computer will work.