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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 John on
You should start a new application using a different email address. This worked for me. No sense in trying to fix the corrupted application. Personally I'd wait a few weeks before going through the process since there are fewer bugs every day. The health coverage doesn't start until January anyway so no rush.
Submitted by Natasha on
Submitted application and under "My plans & programs" and it says "Status: Initial enrollment to New Jersey FamilyCare's Medicaid Program" but the link to visit Medicaid/Chip Website doesn't do anything.
Submitted by Anonymous on
Two weeks ago I tried to create an account and got as far as the verification email. When I clicked it, it simply said that I had waited too long and to retry. It had been maybe two minutes. I continued to retry but experienced no progress. Last night, after viewing the updates in this blog, I gave it another try. I had zero issues. The application was down for maintenance but this afternoon I was able to complete it and I received my eligibility results. The entire process took maybe twenty minutes. Now, while it is requesting that I submit documents to support my application (I assume this is because I have employer coverage and they need to know if it is affordable before granting a tax subsidy) the very fact that I have gotten as far as I have when before I couldn't even create an account is a testament to the progress. Do not let the nay-sayers get you down. You guys ARE making a difference. Thank you.
Submitted by Anonymous on
Some progress is better than no progress. Right?
Submitted by Jim on
Only if you believe there are 'degrees' to a complete train wreck.
Submitted by Mike on
When you visit the website use in private browsing. Its the only way I can get to the site.
Submitted by Gene F on
I put in my User Name and Password 6 times today (and every day for the past month) and get either the same screen to Log In, as though I'd done nothing or infrequently, the info I put in is not correct. IE9 Windows 7: I have allowed cookies, I have cleared history, cookies, etc, I have closed browsers, I have shut down my PC, waited, then started up again. All to no avail. I need to complete an app. When I requested one by phone, I was sent a Spanish app.I have downloaded the app, and the hone CSR said:"Hopefully, you will be able to sign up by Dec 15, allowing for two weeks each for app process/subsidy qualifying/shopping. I NEED coverage 1/1/14 as my present ins is cxl'd as of 12/31/13. HELP HELP
Submitted by Anonymous on
Thefunctionality of the system is really terrible, I have been trying to apply for two weeks and all I do is loop in the system. My daughter is listed 3 times! this is terrible.
Submitted by micky on
I am fed up with the endless loops, the lack of functionality, and all the excuses. get this fixed.. I cannot believe this system is so screwed up. you should be ashamed of yourself putting the American public through this level of incompetence... Period
Submitted by Betty on
What is the point of these comments? I've never seen any reference to what anyone does with them...or even reads them.
Submitted by Bob on
Been trying for 3 weeks to "View Eligibility Results." Leads to a blank page. System won't let me finish application and enroll. Until then whatever "progress" you are making is making no difference to my situation.
Submitted by Jerry on
Am not able to log in, I put in my username and password and then hit the log in tab. Instead of logging in , it will go back to the log in screen with no errors. Tried using the wrong password to see what it would do, it give me an error saying the information you used isn't valid. This has been going on for over a week . Help center was not able to help me solve the problem.
Submitted by Chris on
I can not get past the "more about this household" question. Everytime I hit save and continue the little green circle goes round and round but never moves on to the next question
Submitted by Jackie Shrago on
I agree the site on Sun., Nov 3 was much improved over prior weeks, including more plan comparison information available. Save/continue worked much better. Cost-Share Reduction information was NOT visible for a person at 100% federal poverty level.
Submitted by billy on
Can't get past security questions. It keeps saying the questions/answers cannot be the same. They're NOT...All are different. Have tried 15 times...giving up.
Submitted by Marilyn on
In Pennsylvania it is impossible to create an account. After answering the security questions accurately a statement appears that says " You cannot answer two of the questions with the same answer, try later".
Submitted by Joe on
This happened to me also. I have created accounts at numerous other web sites and have never encountered ridiculous error message like this before. It makes us the users look like a fool not knowing how to select different questions and providing different answers.
Submitted by cj on
Same for me here in PA,gave up
Submitted by Ken on
I get to the last page to set premium tax credit and get a blank box above "use this amount". Click on "use this amount" and nothing happens.
Submitted by Ahmed Dawson on
After sitting and waiting for 3 weeks for my Identity Verification Pending, I decided today to create a brand new account with a different email address, and same info in my application. Worked without issue. My Identity was verified instantly and this time Equifax style questions appeared which I did not see October 10th. Now I am shopping for plans. So maybe people need to just create a new account and not get frustrated with their original accounts if weeks have past. I think initially some applications and accounts were caught in a bad state. Advise people to create a brand new account and redo the application process. It takes all of 15 minutes. Based on my experience today.
Submitted by K on
1. I can not view my eligibility results. 2. I get an e-mail that tell me I have notice and need to log in to view message. I do not see where to go to view my notice once I have logged in.
Submitted by Kathy on
There is no way to delete household members from the application, even in the review section. There is no way for a user to submit a support ticket when the application process misfires. (Which, if available and the information aggregated, might lead to some fixes being performed sooner?) There is no section/box for suggestions on how to improve the application or the website. (Recognizing that there is enough to fix that is readily apparent, there should still be an effort to capture user experience for the next version).
Submitted by Anonymous on
Why does anyone say improvements have been made instead of actually spending their time finishing the improvements? I created 1 account, couldn't get into it later to finish it after I heard there were improvements. I created a 2nd account, couldn't even complete creating it, even with different ID, password and email. Instead of giving vague updates, why not actually focus on being able to say that the system is finally functional?
Submitted by mike on
it is getting a lot easier to navigate through the program I would like to be able to see what each policy had in it as far copays and deductables coinsurance ect. I have not been able to figure out how to get their yet.
Submitted by bill on
What is the purpose of this blog??? Lots of problems listed but no one is giving any specific feedback. My application gets hung up at the question about anyone in the household being a full time student. Do I just keep trying over and over or should I just wait for a few weeks to try again.