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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 Glynis on
click on your profile link to find the notice.
Submitted by Liinda on
I was readily able to access & re-acess the site and complete an application yesterday & today, AFTER I CREATED A NEW ACCOUNT - A NEW USER NAME, ETC. I had previously sucessfully created an account on 10/2, but was unable to go farther without errors. PLEASE CONSIDER ADVISING ALL WHO MAY HAVE BEGUN THE PROCESS SOME TIME AGO THAT PERHAPS THEY SHOULD START OVER NOW BY CREATING A NEW ACCOUNT NOW, rather by logging on and then getting errors. I hope this helps others. Thanks!
Submitted by Chuck Bryant on
I agree with Liinda: Today I created a new account with a new email address and got all the way through. On the advice of Live Chat, I'll just ignore the previous account and if I ever get an email about it being ready to move forward, I'll delete it and not log in to my old account ever again.
Submitted by Patricia on
My application has been processed since October 15, and my results have been ready for me to view; however, I have NOT been able to access the results. I get a blank page with a web address that has the last word in the address being /null/. Any idea when this glitch will be fixed? I have had no luck with the call center. They are unable to get my completed processed application.
Submitted by Glynis on
Those early Oct applications have become corrupted and that's why the call center can't get to them. It is a hassle but the best thing would be to create a new account with a new username, password, and email address and complete a new application. People are saying it is going much faster and they haven't had the issues from before.
Submitted by David on
I am from Arkansas, and I am eligible for the private option. One particular glitch that I have noticed is that there is a dead link to my eligibility results. Also, I have noticed that, since Medicaid in the state is taking care of the application process for the private option, there is a specific website in Arkansas that takes care of this: http://access.arkansas.gov However, the link that I am getting under my account in "plans and premiums" directs me to the Arkansas Medicaid website https://www.medicaid.state.ar.us/ Now, there is absolutely no information on the Arkansas Medicaid website, but lots of information on the Access Arkansas website, and you can apply there. Anyway, thought you might need to know about this.
Submitted by Judy on
I can't even access the web site after I put user Id and password in it defautls back to log in page and there isn't any messages.
Submitted by Rick on
I had the same problem, and believe me, you need to give up on that account and create a new one with a new user id, pw and email address. Then re-apply from scratch. I did that and the second time I was able to enroll (and still easily get into the second account). Just be sure you don't make any errors after you start the enrollment process, because THAT is where I am stuck with an apparently non-addressable headache now. Phone CSR can't fix it, and no one from the "Advanced Resolution Center" will call me back despite three weeks of promises. I wait five business days, the ARC call never comes, and CSR enters a new ticket and tells me I have to wait yet another five business days. And again the call never comes. On an on, ad nauseum. I guess I'm just stuck with the wrong plan and the wrong premium because of it. Hard to be a supporter when you're treated like this. CSR's are friendly, but that plus a dollar will get you a cup of coffee.
Submitted by Glynis on
First delete your cookies and temporary internet files and then create a new username and password and email address.
Submitted by Carolyn on
I live in Alabama, and had set up an account a couple months ago when it became available to do so. However, from day one, I've not been able to get past the log-in screen. My log-in is correct but when I type it in, the page flickers and comes right back to a blank log-in screen. Very frustrating. I know my log-in info is correct, because if I accidentally hit the wrong key, a red error appears. I think a lot of people in Alabama are having the same problem via the federal website to get health care. Please look into this issue; it's far more important than the "speed"of use!
Submitted by Glynis on
Create a new account with a new username, new password, and new email address. Files got corrupted in those early Oct accounts so there isn't anything else you can do but create a new account and start over. If you're still having trouble logging in then it might be the browser you're using. That's causing some problems too especially if you use FireFox. Internet Explorer, Chrome, and Safari are working better. Try the creating a new account first. Delete your cookies and temporary internet files first.
Submitted by Colleen on
Glynis, I appreciate all your suggestions here. On my first try and October, I had been incorrectly declared ineligible for the exchanges, in Wyoming, and my local Blue Cross agent suggested just what you are here, creating a new account. That did work for me although I still haven't made it all the way through to being able to see the plans. I just wanted to give you my experience on a Mac, which is that Safari just gives me blank pages but with Firefox I have a lot better luck. I have cleared caches, etc.
Submitted by Glynis on
I've read that people who have been stuck at different points have had good luck starting over with a new account with a new user name, password, and email address. Also, internet explorer and chrome browsers have worked the best. Before they started over they deleted cookies and temporary internet files, and restarted their computer. Then they created a new account. Hope this helps.
Submitted by Diann on
Thank you for your service. We need ACA
Submitted by David on
I have tried many, many times to complete my application and enrollment, and it always bombs out right after I do my electronic signature on the application, assuming I get that far. I'm trying to get a plan in Arizona, and the site totally sucks. What a pathetic job you have done.
Submitted by lucy on
what about the identity verification process ? Is anyone looking at that glitch? Ive been stuck there for over a month!!!
Submitted by Glynis on
If you started an application in Oct when the website had all the problems the best thing to do is to create a new account with a new username, password, and email address and start a new application. It is a hassle but people who have done that are then able to get an application and identity verification done.
Submitted by Ann on
One persistent problem is the inability of users to go in and edit their existing applications. Since there were so many glitches in the early stages, many applications contain fatal errors that still can't be corrected. Nobody knows when the edit function will appear.
Submitted by Glynis on
I don't think you'll ever be able to edit applications because of the fatal errors. Start over with a new username, password, and email address.
Submitted by Chris on
I am waiting five weeks later for identify verification. How long is this going to take?
Submitted by Chuck Bryant on
Chris, I waited over six weeks for identity verification. I gave up and started over a brand new account with a different email address. I got all the way through without a hitch. Now I'm just waiting for the insurance company to finish so I can pay.
Submitted by Chris on
Thank you so much for replying. Maybe I will have to do the same thing. Contratulations on completion :)
Submitted by Dan on
Hopefully, someone will read about these bugs with Healthcare.gov First, I do not want the optional dental insurance plan, but the "No, I don't want the dental insurance button" does not work. The dental plan item on the Enroll Checklist always remains at set. Second, I did select my plans and agreed to the terms and clicked on the accept or confirm buttons. Now I am stuck at the "Review and Confirm" stage which is locked. Third, there is a red banner at the top of the Enrollment To-do List page that says "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." When I click on the Application Details link, it just goes back to the plan page. Is anyone out there listening? The Live-Chat and Help lines are staffed by clueless idiots. HELP!!!
Submitted by Marcia on
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 get this message over and over again, I click on "Application Details" and uploaded the needed documentation and nothing changes, still get this message. I am stuck on the "Set premium tax credit usage" tab with the "set" green button and even if I answer the questions I do not get the second tab "Answer questions about your household" unlock. This website is a mess! Very disappointed with everything about Obamacare!
Submitted by Mike on
I have the same issue... grrr.