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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. 


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 Ann on
I am unable to complete application - I keep getting stuck on the last question of the additional information section. I've cleared cache and tried every day for the last week. In addition, I'm now getting emails to complete app, yet the system does not let me proceed.
Submitted by tammy on
paying cobra notsurehow to find help insurance for my self and husband i have to drop it my husband makes 2000.00 month health care for me 600.00 month i cantafford it i have ms doctor has disabled me ss denided me
Submitted by Glynis on
I've discovered today that people are stuck in loops because it's not clear what they should do. On the page that asks "what would you like to do?, next to the "View my current applications" heading it says "in progress". Click on "Individual and Family Coverage" underneath the heading. It's a link that will take you to an "Enroll To-Do List" page. On that page you click on the green "Set" button where it says "Select a health insurance plan". Then you'll go to a page to compare and select plans. Those buttons that say "locked" will unlock when you complete the preceding step. After you select a plan you'll click on a green "Confirm" button. You have to complete each step on the "Enroll To-Do List" page. On that page there is a triangle symbol with an exclamation point that says review your application details to resolve outstanding issues. DO NOT click on Application Details, it just takes you back to the "what do you want to do?" page. It's just informational, just proceed through the steps on the "Enroll To-Do List".
Submitted by Nancy on
Thank you for the tip. Too bad the folks on the Healthcare.gov chat don't know this!
Submitted by Denise on
On October 11th I was able to get through the Healthcare Website to sign up for a plan. The problem is the system came back and said I was eligible for Medcaid which is an error. I filed an appeal on October 23rd of which I have heard nothing. My current insurance will go up in price on January 1 and I will no long be able to afford it. I have call customer service several times and no one there has ever been able to help me. Because of Obamacare I am going to loose my health insurance and no one seens to be able to help me.
Submitted by Glynis on
Did you try clicking on Eligibility and Appeals to see if there is anything there?
Submitted by ted on
Here's my story -- on chat and the agent basically hung up on me. [9:51:38 pm]: Thanks for contacting Health Insurance Marketplace Live Chat. Please wait while we connect you to someone who can help. [9:51:41 pm]: Please be patient while we're helping other people. [9:51:46 pm]: Welcome! You're now connected to Health Insurance Marketplace Live Chat. Thanks for contacting us. My name is Danielle. To protect your privacy, please don't provide any personal information, like Social Security Number, or any other sensitive medical or personal information. [9:51:55 pm]: Danielle How can I help you with any questions you have today? [9:53:02 pm]: ted I was able to create an account, log in, and finish most of the application process a month ago. Since then, every time I try to log in, I simply get the log in screen, with no messages. (If I use the wrong password, I get an error). I have tried literally hundreds of times, all with the same results. [9:53:59 pm]: Danielle I apologize for any technical difficulties you may be experiencing as you use HealthCare.gov. We know this can be frustrating, and we're working around the clock to improve HealthCare.gov and to make sure your experience with it is a positive one. I will make a note of your feedback. In the meantime, you can still complete an application right now by selecting the following link to download a paper application: http://marketplace.cms.gov/getofficialresources/publications-and-articles/publications-and-articles.html. Choose the application that best fits your needs under "Marketplace Consumer Application." You may also call the Marketplace at 1-800-318-2596 for help with completing an application or to request a paper application by mail. [9:54:57 pm]: ted Ok, so is this a common problem? I see where all sorts of bugs are fixed. Faster response times, etc. But, not even getting a chance to see a response time? [9:55:24 pm]: Danielle There is no time limit. [9:55:29 pm]: Danielle I apologize for the inconvenience. [9:56:05 pm]: ted Is this a common error? Am I seeing what others are, also, or just me? [9:56:44 pm]: Danielle Not just you. [9:57:11 pm]: ted Does it make sense to keep trying, or just give up on the online app? [9:58:00 pm]: Danielle You can apply for coverage through the Marketplace at HealthCare.gov, by mail, or in person. I can also work with you to complete the application and help you compare and choose a plan over the phone. [9:58:06 pm]: ted I mean, once someone sees this error, do they ever log in? [9:58:46 pm]: Your chat session is over. Thanks for contacting us, and we hope we've answered your questions. Have a great day. [9:58:46 pm]: 11/17/2013
Submitted by Glynis on
Did you click the link in the bottom left that says "Having trouble logging in? and try those steps? Did you try the "forgot your username" or "forgot your password" links to see if you get a system email? Did you try a different browser or a different computer? Try all of those first and if you still can't login or you don't even get a system email then your account got corrupted and you need to create a new one with a new username, new password, and new email address. Also, delete your cookies and temporary internet files before you create a new account.
Submitted by Carla on
I have been trying to enroll for the last two weeks. Every time I get my personal information and my families information entered - the last save button after the question about my oldest son being in college does not work. I have tried several different times and everytime after I get to that point the button to save is inactive. Could you please add that to your list - it is very frustrating because I have to re-enter the information every time I try.
Submitted by Sally on
When will Healthcare.gov get a fix for the Medicaid black hole? I was able to receive an account on Healthcare.gov. I then received a message that erroneously stated that my application was being submitted to medicaid. I was a medicaid eligibility worker so I know, for a fact, that I am not eligible for medicaid. This could have been determined if the application had asked about resources since medicaid eligibility is determined by income and resources. I am also not eligible for SSD. I paid for it but not during the time period our great congress decided I needed to. What do I do now? I just want to know what plans I am eligible for and not sit in limbo because I was placed into the Medicaid eligibility bucket. The Live Chat person was unable to answer my question. How do I see what plans that I am eligible for before I lose my existing insurance policy on 12/31/2013? I do not want to keep Texas’ ripoff risk pool insurance.
Submitted by Petey on
If you are stuck in application "limbo" you CAN start over. If you are applying together with your spouse, try having your spouse create an account in his/her name instead of yours. Create a new username, new password, and new e-mail address. I have been stuck "in progress" for 6 weeks with an" identity verification" glitch, along with many of the other glitches experienced by those of us that applied early on. Absolutely NO ONE could help me!..I took the advice from a fellow blogger and started over as described above. I was doubtful that it would go through but to my surprise...It did!...I was actually able to fill out the application and follow the steps to get signed up for a plan in about an hour!......I am sharing this with fellow applicants because at this time, no one else is going to help us...so we have to help each other! Short of the marketplace allowing us to cancel out our non-functioning "old" applications and start over( which is not yet an option as far as I know) this is at least worth a try. Good luck everyone :)
Submitted by K on
I have suggestion let us delete application without creating a new account. I refuse to create a new account to actually be able to go through this process of getting health insurance. My situation I am stuck until the website is fixed that is what the call center told me. I cannot view my notices or eligibility results. I have tried everything "live chat"and the call center has told me and nothing works.
Submitted by Glynis on
There is no way to delete an application. If you refuse to create a new account then you will not be able to apply online because accounts got corrupted from the system errors and there is no way to fix them.
Submitted by Sally on
When will Healthcare.gov get a fix for the Medicaid black hole? I was able to receive an account on Healthcare.gov. I then received a message that erroneously stated that my application was being submitted to medicaid. I was a medicaid eligibility worker so I know, for a fact, that I am not eligible for medicaid. This could have been determined if the application had asked about resources since medicaid eligibility is determined by income and resources. I am also not eligible for SSD. I paid for it but not during the time period our great congress decided I needed to. What do I do now? I just want to know what plans I am eligible for and not sit in limbo because I was placed into the medicaid eligibility bucket. The Live Chat person was unable to answer my question. How do I see what plans that I am eligible for before I lose my existing insurance policy on 12/31/2013? I would not want to keep Texas' ripoff risk pool insurance even was extended.
Submitted by Jimmy Eaton on
Your problem is with Texas not healthcare.gov. It appears you qualify for Expanded Medicaid which has no resources limit. Since your are below 138% of the poverty level you do not qualify for tax subsidies on healthcare.gov. However, Texas has decided not to expand medicaid so you are indeed in a black hole. You can buy an off-exchange policy directly with an insurance company at full price.
Submitted by Glynis on
If you want to see plans and cost estimates a good place to go is valuepenguin.com. Did you try to log back in to see what it says in your account?
Submitted by Debbie on
Need to report "Life changes" (income change, need to add another person) can't choose an insurance plan until this is done. Webpage states this will be available on Nov. 15, 2013. I keep checking every day and it is still not active.
Submitted by Sally on
Thanks, for the suggestion, Debbie. I did report "Life changes" when I filled out the form. I will try it again & hold my breath that it works. It may have to do with not taking in consideration what state one lives in & what each individual state's regs are for medicaid.
Submitted by Glynis on
If buttons won't click or pages don't appear it may be due to something with the browser you are using or the way your computer is set up. 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 don't know how to delete cookies or temporary files, click on the link on the login page that says "Having trouble logging in?" at the bottom left. Scroll down the page and it will give you more information about how to do these things. Sometimes just using a different browser or even a different computer works too. If you are just too frustrated by all the computer problems to try it that way again, then apply by phone or go to your nearest Walgreens or CVS pharmacy because they are helping people apply.
Submitted by Frustrated on
I have tried every up-to-date browser under the sun, clearing cache & cookies each time and using multiple userids and emails, the first of which I setup prior to October 1st. One of my attempts has been stuck in the id verification step since the first or second week of October; I had uploaded my drivers license. My id is still not verified. With my more recent attempt (from about a month ago), after I submit my electronic signature, it briefly flashes an Oops error message and returns to my main screen, my profile shows that my ID has been verified. I am never presented with plans to enroll in. So for some of us, it is not merely needing to be pseudo-fluent in the ways of web browser, cacheing and cookies. The app is simply not working correctly and is not user error.
Submitted by Glynis on
The design definitely isn't user friendly. Are you referring to the "what would you like to do?" screen as your main screen? In order to get to the plans you have to click on the words "Individual and Family Coverage" under the "View my current applications" heading. It will take you to a page that has a "Resume Enrollment" button. You can also review your eligibility by clicking on the "Eligibility and appeals" link on the left side of the page. After you click on "Resume Enrollment" you go to an "Enroll To-Do List". In order to see the plans you click on the green "Set" button. The red banner implies that something is missing but that is misleading because it is only a reminder. You set your subsidy on that page and you proceed to the plans by clicking on "Set".
Submitted by Anne on
I successfully completed the application, got eligibility results and picked a plan but have not been able to complete my application (tried every day since October 20 because last page asks me to enroll in health plan 1 and health plan 2. I only need 1 plan!!! Have called, talked to advance resolution center technicians and they can't solve this either because they can't go in and correct this problem. I guess I am just at the mercy of Jeff Zients personnally to fix this glitch!!! If this is not fixed, how can you offer insurance to people who successfully got all the way through the enrollment process as of January 1, 2014 nd not offer insurance to someone who has been caught up in glitches since October 20th and who has logged on every day since then to complete the enrollment!!!
Submitted by s on
I have had the exact same problem for WEEKS, I selected one paln but it wants me to select 2 or it will not let me proceed. I have even tried that but the buttons don't work to do that, so I have been stuck for weeks. I have contacted thru "live chat" and the help call line numerous times, I have been told it was elevated to advanced resolution and someone would contact me by phone withing 2-5 business days- 4 TIMES -no one has called EVER! I have been told to use the "report a life change" link to see if extra people were somehow added to my account, that the link would be working on Nov. 15, it is now Nov. 18th and it still is not working, but has a note saying it will be working on Nov. 15. I have tried different computers, difference browsers, and assistance. As of today, I have spent a full 46 hours on the website just trying to buy my plan, and as of today there is still no progress, no help, and no end in sight.
Submitted by Glynis on
Sounds like something got corrupted in your application. The only thing you can do is start over by creating a new account with a new username, password, and email address. First clear your cookies and temporary internet files. And use either internet explore, chrome or safari browsers.
Submitted by Roger on
"...clearing over 200 items from our punch list,,," 200 out of what? 300?, 1000?, 5000? What percentage of your punch list is done?