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Weekly Wrap-Up: the Latest Fixes to HealthCare.gov & Open Enrollment by the Numbers

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Saturday, November 16, 2013

As we continue to improve HealthCare.Gov, we wanted to provide you with a wrap up of the fixes we’ve made to the site over the last week and an update on open enrollment.

Yesterday, Jeff Zients provided an update on the status of our efforts to improve HealthCare.gov. As Jeff said, we’ve made measurable progress in the last few weeks, clearing over 200 items from our punch list. This week the site was very stable. Here are a few of the major fixes:

  • We've improved response time (how fast the system responds to user’s requests) from an average of 8 seconds at launch to under one second for most users.
  • By eliminating glitches and executing bug fixes in the software, we’ve driven the error rate on pages down to under 1%.
  • To improve the user experience, we added visual cues to plan compare screens to help consumers select the best plan.

For next week, we’re prioritizing a list of 50 additional fixes and improvements. As always, we will continue to provide updates on our fixes as we have them.

While we make improvements to HealthCare.gov, Americans all over the country are shopping for coverage and enrolling in the new Marketplace.

On Wednesday, we released our most detailed report to date on our first reporting period of Open Enrollment. Between October 1 and November 2, 106,185 individuals selected plans from the Marketplace and another 975,407 applied and received an eligibility determination, but are still shopping. An additional 396,261 were assessed or determined eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

That means, in total, 502,446 Americans are positioned to have health coverage starting in 2014. As more and more Americans enroll, we’re starting to hear their stories about what getting coverage means to them:

Paul Vlosich from Uniontown Pennsylvania initially had trouble with HealthCare.gov but was persistent and eventually selected a silver plan that has a lower cost, lower deductible, and lower co-pays than his previous coverage. With tax credits, he will be paying $60 per month. Paul’s mom recently passed away from cancer. Before she passed away, Paul promised her that he’d always take care of himself and have health insurance.

Lara Imler from Anchorage switched careers in 2004, trading in her accountant’s calculator for a new career as a hairdresser. While she loves her new job, she missed the insurance benefits of her old job because they helped her treat a thyroid disorder. On October 24th, Lara gave HealthCare.gov another chance and was able to enroll in a silver plan that cost $100/month—substantially lower than the $1,200 she’d been quoted before the Marketplace.

While we’re still not where we want to be with HealthCare.gov, the site is getting better and better. As Secretary Sebelius has said, we won’t stop until every American who wants it gains access to these new options for quality, affordable care. 

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Submitted by James Wimberley on
Glynis' advice is sound. Many commenters here ask if they can delete a jammed application. This does not seem to be possible, but anyway it's unnecessary. SFIK healthgov.com is not a database, only a glorified mail office. It creates a file for every application, which follows a tortuous path to your chosen insurer. Suppose you create a new application and it works, and you sign a contract with an insurer. If your old application makes it through, the insurer will detect the duplicate, and in any case you will not sign a second contract. To add to Glynis' suggestions: if it were me (and it isn't because I'm an expat Brit living in Spain) I would run the whole thing in an isolated sandbox. Get a new email address from gmail. yahoo.or hotmail. Create a new user on my computer, have a copy of the browser only used for healthcare.gov, clear the Internet cache, history, and cookies before starting. check cookies are enabled, disable all plugins, even disable the antivirus (for this use only!) Write down all your data on a crib sheet before starting, Enter the data on the website with great care - capitalisation, spacing, the works. Check every item before hitting an OK button. Save frequently.
Submitted by Jason on
As an assister that's been working with this since day 1, Chrome or Safari will work best for you. Internet Explorer will also work well. It has been buggy with Firefox. I don't know about other browsers. Especially if someone has an account from early October or before, creating a new account might be a very good idea.
Submitted by Michael on
I used FF today on a Mac, and Healthcare.gov worked really well. But did use a new email address and cleared all cookies/cache.
Submitted by Ron on
For weeks my enrollment has been stuck on the last step of Enrollment (the step after you choose your dental plan which says "Review and confirm your coverage"). There's a big PADLOCK next to this last step...and no where to click!!! At the top of the page it 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" I can't submit an application over the phone or an application via paper because my enrollment is stuck in this stage...and the clock is ticking because I need insurance Jan. 1 and the deadline is less than 30 days from now!!!!
Submitted by Glynis on
If you're stuck because the padlock won't unlock then create a new account, with a new username, a new password, and new email address and start over. Delete your cookies and temporary internet files first. Nothing will happen with your current account and application if you ignore it and create a new one. That red bar at the top that says to review your application is just a reminder. It will stay there even if there is nothing for you to do.