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A Weekend of Work Brings System Progress

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Monday, November 4, 2013

Today, Julie Bataille, Director of Communications for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services provided an operational update on the Health Insurance Marketplace.  In Julie’s own words -  

“Earlier today the FFM online application and enrollment system experienced a brief, unscheduled outage. That lasted for approximately 90 minutes.  While the application and enrollment tools were not available, the Federal Data Services Hub remained fully operational during this time.  As we noted last week, we have found both hardware and software issues that we must address as part of our improvements. We have core teams in place to identify and prioritize fixes in these areas. As we expose more volume to the system, we may identify additional issues and we will continue to work through them. This is frustrating. We are on an aggressive path to make improvements and we will do just that.”

Over this past weekend, we made more than a dozen important fixes to the HealthCare.gov application and enrollment system to improve performance and functionality. The HealthCare.gov site is working better than it did last week, as we continue to take steps to ensure a better consumer experience.  We are making progress moving through priority fixes and crossing items off the punch list, one by one. 

Specifically, we began fixes to correct information on 834 notices.  These are the transaction forms that the Marketplace system provides to insurance companies to complete the processing of an application, and to enable the customer to ultimately complete payment and enrollment with the issuer.  We have been working closely with the issuer community to identify, test, and put in place fixes to improve these forms.  The notices now should reflect proper date/time stamps, qualified health plan identification numbers, and consumer contact information.

The ongoing fixes we are making to enhance the application itself will make a meaningful difference to consumers using the system and to insurance companies processing transactions on their end.  Another example includes fixes to improve the functionality of the “Save and Continue” button in the application, allowing consumers to more readily save their work, continue or come back without frustration. 

We will continue to take steps to improve the reliability of transactional data, which is important to tracking progress over time as we work to report on overall program metrics moving forward.

Lastly, as part of our weekend work, we also upgraded hardware so that our system now has more redundancy – improving stability and scalability – adding dedicated switches in the Verizon/Terremark data center to help prevent a recurrence of the kind of issues associated with last week’s system outages. 

We now have the right team in place and a relentless focus on getting the job done quickly and well.  The site is getting better each week, and by the end of November, it will be working smoothly for the vast majority of users.

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Submitted by Doreen on
I appreciate the dedicated work of President Obama and the HHS Secretary along with everyone involved in making the ACA reach all Americans - the ones who need insurance as well as those of us who have insurance. The ACA means is a tremendous benefit to our family and we know to this country. With your capable attention to correcting all problems, others will join us in praising this law and all of your determined work. Thanks so much!! God Bless You All!!!
Submitted by LB31 on
So, what does "Error Unmarshalling Request" mean? Like so many others I have tried to set up an account repeatedly. I always get stuck at the verifying ID step despite having been told by Experian that my ID has been verified and despite having also uploaded a copy of my drivers license to the website. Recently I decided to stop trying until the site was fixed. Now, reading the blog about how the fixes are being put in place, I decided to try again. Upon attempting to log-in using my existing user name and password, I received the error message "Error Unmarshalling Request" Can someone on the tech team explain what this is and what is being done to fix it?
Submitted by Donald on
I see a number of similar posts to mine that encourage people to use a new email address to create a new account and start over with it, rather than hope that their stalled applications somehow miraculously come out of their zombie states if they just are patient enough. It's likely that due to initial problems during the first 2-3 weeks combined with re-engineering fixes to address them that changed data schemas, there is just no way to push those old account applications forward.
Submitted by Tina on
Bad idea to use different addresses, if you're submitting the same application. Someone will get confused on the back-end and then you'll probably have to wait longer to get it sorted out. In other words, try not to hit it with a hammer. There's still time to enroll without penalty and be covered by January 1.
Submitted by Michael on
Tina, are you with the implementation team or just an interested party? I think what some people are suggesting is a DIFFERENT application with a different email address, and some are saying that it worked. If we could get an official position on this, it would be great...
Submitted by Rob on
I can't sign up. Says I have to provide distinct answers to my security questions, which I did. So I guess I'll just keep trying since I have so much free time to fuck around on the web all day.
Submitted by Ann on
Having the same problem when it comes to the security questions. I've tried putting these in at least 50 times and 50 different ways, but the site won't accept anything I put in. Yet it doesn't tell you or give an example on how to correct or change your security ? answers. Is anyone addressing this, since the section of the application is only part 2 of the application process, this is insane.
Submitted by Billy on
Rob You sound like the type of person who`d wait in line for 5 days to buy an i phone,but who demands health care in 60 seconds/,no?
Submitted by Anonymous on
the problem is that you submitted multipule applications and they are trying to sort out your info to send the correct information to you but are hit with all the applications and they are behide because a lot of people do submit more than one and it is backing up the process which should have been a week is now about 3 weeks
Submitted by Doreen on
Started an application and due to system errors I had to open an acct in my husband name and start over I have been trying since oct 1 and as of today I still haven't been able to enroll in a plan I got my application processed but I can't see the health plans to enroll I get a blank screen I also can't read the message it says I have now earlier u get an error msg after I log in saying wait 30 mins try again seriously messed up if u gonna fine people for not having insurance u better get this fixed
Submitted by barbara on
you all just made it worse my profile was fine its my application I am unable to access to finish it and submit it so I can move on to the next so give me back my completed profile and then help me access my application thank you barbara
Submitted by Bruce on
When will it be able to Support the second "II" for suffixes? SR., JR., III, IV are there but people legally need the "II" to be supported. The second "II" is NOT the same as JR.
Submitted by barbara on
on the healthcare.gov website I logged in to try and complete my application because its telling me its incomplete but my application will not pop up for me to complete it so when I try again to pull up my application its telling me that it is complete so which is it when I come to resume your enrollment there are 3 boxes one box says set (PREMIUM) the second and 3rd boxes are locked which makes it impossible for me to move forward my screen has been this way for almost a month please help me
Submitted by John on
What it is asking you to do is decide how much of your monthly subsidy you wish to use towards the coverage you choose. Let's say you qualify for $300/month in subsidies. You can use all of it to reduce your cost the most, or use some or even none and get it back when you do your taxes. I would suggest using most or all to get your premium down. Once you have made this choice, the next box will open up and show you your choices with the cost reflecting your subsidy. After you choose a plan, the last box will open up for you. As for the blank screen, be patient, and try late at night or early in the morning. Sometimes for me the pages would finally appear after a minute or two. I signed up on Oct. 11, and just received calls and letter from Blue Cross saying I'm set. Good luck.
Submitted by Russ on
My wife and I finally suceeded in getting eligible and started reviewing actual plans and costs last evening. If that would have been my first time on, I would have wondered what all the comotion was about. I have been trying to get to this point since 12:05 am on 10/1/2013. I bet I tried over 100 times. It was an ordeal, but now it is over and I am basking in the success. I just want to say to all the programmers on the project (I use to do mainframe programming) , Thanks, but you should have done more testing.
Submitted by Karen on
Would like to add I am having the same looping problem. I have my account set up and eligibility verified. For two weeks have been trying to get back in the compare available plans. I log in with user name and password and it loops back over and over. I've done all the trouble shooting and tried three different browsers. It's very frustrating. We have been looking forward to the end of denials for coverage because of pre-existing conditions. I would like to get it set.
Submitted by Evelyn J. Kern on
As to this date I still cannot log in to get into my account. I created this account in July 2014. As of October 4, 2014 I have tried logging in several times--i continue to get loomped back around to the log in page with an error message that says "loggin information isn't valid". So I called the call center and they say they can't help me at all. Even sent me to advanced resolution and they called me tried to change my password and I still get the same "loggin information isn't valid" . I don't think I will EVER be able to get back into my account.
Submitted by Connie on
I live in Berryville VA and have been unable to find any navigators in the Winchester VA area which has over 100,00 people.Also is an address for Hampshire on the Northwestern turnpike which has Gore as the location of the navagator,I'm guessing Hampshire is supposed to be in Wv but Gore is in VA.I can find navigators east of Winchester and north and west.Did someone forget the Winchester and Frederick County VA area?
Submitted by Nancy on
Keep up the good work for the American people. Just thank you god bless
Submitted by K on
I need a feature to delete an application that is in progress OR a feature to edit what I've already entered so I can hopefully clarify how I'm entering family data. Identity verification has automatically included my deceased mother-in-law as an applicant, and also decided that she's my dependent. My daughter happens to have the same name, but I would think the SSA could tell you that their SSNs are unique, and somehow convince you that dead people are, in fact, dead, and not applying for coverage.
Submitted by Joe on
Where Do I find information about coverage when I travel throughout the US & overseas?? I don't see that mentioned anywhere in anything I have read.
Submitted by Angela on
When I try to apply I get a message stating that the verification system is down so I need to save the information and try again . The problem is the system does not save my information so each time I come back not only is the verificatoin system not working, but I also have to re-enter all the information.
Submitted by Cindy on
Day 37, I have completed my application, when I go to view eligibility it kicks me back to the start your application page. I also have notices about my eligibility and if I click on either of those nothing happens.(I was going to log back on and give the exact words of those notice messages, but surprise the system is down! Seriously, I had to do all of this just to find out the details of plans available. Real details, not just premiums, I do not qualify for subsidies. I need to know the cost of the premiums based on the age, deductibles, out of pocket costs, prescription coverage. What is this information not available with out applying? Try to view the link about the privacy policy and suprise that doesn't work either.
Submitted by Marty on
I completed my application November 1, going through the web pages, answering the questions, and submitting and signing the application. After this, I did get an eligibility.pdf, telling me that I was eligible for subsidies. However, at this stage things become murky. I want to examine the available insurance policies, as to deductibles, coverage and the rest. I would assume that after going into the site, you should just be able to select the LOG IN link in order to shop for coverage. But every time I attempt to login, the system does not respond. If I enter an incorrect username and password, the system will tell me that is the case. However, with the correct username and password, I just get a blank screen that just stays there. Getting health insurance is a several stage process: registration, filling out a market application, shopping for insurance and then finally enrolling. Even if my login attempt were working, the transistion between these stages as a user of the system is simply not clearly presented.
Submitted by Esther on
I started an application within hours of the website opening at midnight on October 1, and I have never been able to complete it, despite literally dozens of visits to the website and numerous consultations via live chat and phone. I think that the problem is that I started it when there were many more software problems; I also made a single entry error that nobody can delete or correct given the current software bugs (other lines are editable, not this one, about who's in my household). Is there any way that you can add the ability to delete (kill) an incomplete application, and let the person start over, now, from scratch, as though they were doing a brand-new application? I am positive that my simple application -- I don't even qualify for subsidies, and don't want that calculated -- would sail right through if I could start over from the start. Re-entering my info would absolutely not be a waste of my time. It would save me hours and weeks and get me out of an endless loop.