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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 Anonymous on
When will the stuck applications "with the identy" problem being fixed? I have called experian they validated me. Marketplace rep validated it ! I upload documents and mailed documents. The ARC department states they can't delete my stuck application and need be patient . Terrible way to handle people well being and health care.
Submitted by Glynis on
People who have had stuck applications had better luck starting over by creating a new account, with a new username, password, and email address.
Submitted by Aaron on
I am *still* getting a url ending in DocumentFromECM?fileIdentifier=null whenever I try to view my eligibility results. Please either fix this or give us an option to delete an in-progress application. I applied 2 hours after your site opened on October 1st.
Submitted by Glynis on
You don't have to delete an in-progress application to start a new one. Just create a new account with a new username, password, and email address.
Submitted by Manuela on
Enrolled last night 11/14 and while pages moved faster the site is still very buggy. My husband and I are enrolled and want separate insurance policies because Blue Cross of SC does not offer a Silver cost sharing plan for a family group. The place on the website site where you should be able to ungroup family members does not work.
Submitted by Mike on
Manuela, I am having that same bug. Site says I have ZERO groups, then in a blink goes back to the enrollment todo list page. I am glad that someone is seeing the same bug I see.
Submitted by Glenn on
Jeff - Thanks for the nice summary. It is good to hear that you are making significant progress in making affordable health care insurance available to all Americans.
Submitted by Julio C Postigo on
I have noticed the improved response time.
Submitted by Peter on
I completed an application the first week of October, my application has been "in progress" since then!!! Almost 6 weeks!!!. After experiencing all of the glitches that most other applicants have had, including not being able to log in, I have had an on going issue with verifying identity,,, absolutely nothing has changed.. I have uploaded Identity documents several times and each time having to crawl through each page to get to "upload documents" page (and FYI) it took 15 seconds today to get from one page to another!! Totally unacceptable!! No one can help, even supervisors and ARC reps... they are all helpless. I have been trying to verify my identity for almost 6 weeks!!!... my application status remains the same... "in progress" Makes me wonder if anyone is looking at the uploads at all? Come on... We all are trying to get signed up and I am afraid that it may be too late for many people who are totally fed up with this poor excuse for a website!! I am beyond frustrated and so very disappointed. Will anyone help those of us that are stuck "in progress" get through????? Start assigning individual case workers or something!!! We all have been trying long enough!! Do something!! HELLO.................................................................................
Submitted by Glynis on
The application files from October got corrupted. People have created new accounts with new usernames, passwords, and email addresses and have been able to complete them.
Submitted by Chuck Bryant on
I feel your pain, Peter. My application was "in progress" and my identity verification was "being reviewed" for over 6 weeks. Today I started over from scratch with a different email address and a new username. Now I'm done except for making the payment. I wanted to delete the bogus application that was stuck in limbo, but the online chat told me to just forget about it. She said if I don't touch that old application for 30 days the system will delete it for me
Submitted by Yves on
While I appreciate and notice that improvements have been made, please read my experience today. I cannot select a plan as you can see . After 3 weeks of trying to complete the process I was so pleasantly surprised to reach the select your plan today. I qualify for 11 silver plans ranging from 0 to 300 a month but they all have the same description and benefits which obviously cannot be. I call BCBSNC, but they have no clue what I'm looking at on the gov site none of the plan names match their system (or the results I see on their site), essentially they can't help me and tell me to call the gov people. I call the gov people, they say they can see my account but can't see what is offered to me and to contact BCBSNC. I drive to a local BCBSNC agent, they want me to submit a paper app and will process when the gov website is working. I come home and create an account on BCBSNC but I get to a page that says if you want subsidies we will email you when that works. It does not seem that I am close to being able to secure healthcare coverage for 1/1/14.....
Submitted by Glynis on
Your current account is corrupted in some way if the plans are not right. You should create a new account with a new username, new password, and new email address. As long as you didn't select any plans nothing will happen if you abandon this current account. Before you create a new account delete your cookies and temporary internet files. Make sure you use internet explorer, safari, or chrome browsers.
Submitted by Glynis on
try starting over with a new account. There may be some corruption in your previous application which is why the call center people can't see what is offered. Nothing will happen with that old account since you haven't completed it so you can just ignore it. Create a new account with a new username, password, and email address. It's a hassle to start over but probably less frustrating than what you're experiencing now. It has worked for other people to do that. Make sure you delete your cookies and temporary internet files first just to be sure that doesn't cause any problems.
Submitted by ted on
So, what are the improvements and fixes? Since I never get past a log-in screen (it just keeps appearing with no error messages), I can't see any of it.
Submitted by Glynis on
Sometimes the errors people see like buttons that won't click or pages that don't appear are due to something with the browser you are using or the way your computer is set up. You need to 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 click on the link on the login page that says "Having trouble logging in?" at the bottom left that will give you more information about how to do these things. Sometimes just using a different browser or even a different computer works.
Submitted by Katherine Drew on
I still cannot get through an application.I'm on my third one. Now I get to the end of the application and it drops all of my spousal information,so I still cannot get information on a tax credit .
Submitted by Suzanne on
While the site is getting faster, nothing happens when you click the enroll button. I don't care how fast it gets me to the site, if I can't do anything once I'm there. I understand this is a big project but how can anyone sign up if the site won't let you?
Submitted by Glynis on
If nothing happens when you click the enroll button it has more to do with your browser than the website. Try a different browser or even a different computer. Or, do a phone application.
Submitted by Gayle on
My identity hasn't been confirmed even though I have called the number given at least six times and have submitted my drivers license and birth certificate at least three times. What do I do next to get registered so I can even see plans available in NC?
Submitted by Glynis on
Create a new account with a new username, new password, and new email address and start over. People who have had the same problem as you have done that and haven't had any problems. There were early problems with Experian that are now fixed and people are able to get through that step after starting over with a new account. Delete your cookies and temporary internet files before you create the new account.
Submitted by Colleen on
I managed to go through the application process and submit my application on October 20. Despite being a poster child for the health care exchange (self-employed, pre-existing condition) I was immediately notified that I am not eligible to shop on the exchange or to get a subsidy. I've been waiting for November 15 when we are supposed to be able to edit and resubmit our application, presumably through the Life Change tab. It's the end of the day on the 15th and it still says "come back on November 15 to report a life change". I will be patient. It's just a little discouraging. I have only managed to find one other person who was misinformed about their eligibility. This despite asking two healthcare.gov federal phone people, two state 211 phone people, and my local insurance agencies.
Submitted by Jim on
Response time is fine, although on my Incomplete Application, I can never (since the beginning of October) get past specifying who will be applying for insurance. The system won't Save any data beyond this point. Hope this error is on your Fix List.
Submitted by Glynis on
Those who have had incomplete applications like you have had better luck creating a new account with a new username, password, and email address. They are not able to do anything with those applications from October because of corruption of the files caused by all the errors. Those errors have been fixed by the applications can't be. So better to start over with a new account.
Submitted by William on
Please fix the notice function on the landing page after sign in. The message is that there is a notice, but there is no way to read it. How do you get to the notice?