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Improved Window Shopping on HealthCare.gov to Help Consumers Enroll

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Monday, December 2, 2013

We’ve been making improvements to HealthCare.gov over the past several weeks to help consumers enroll in affordable health coverage, and today, we’ve launched an improved window shopping feature for consumers.

Consumers can now see more detailed information about each Marketplace plan offered in their area before applying. This new tool will display plan prices much more accurately, based on the household information entered. Consumers can compare plans, covered benefits, physician and hospital networks, and more. No login or application is required to access this feature. Just answer a few simple questions to see plans and prices in your area.

Consumers will still need to complete the Marketplace application to find out if they qualify for lower costs, but this new tool is a much enhanced version of an earlier one, and one more way consumers can get information to help them get ready to enroll and find a plan that fits their needs and budget.

Today, we also provided an update on a few metrics and examples of additional fixes we’ve put in place:

  • As of noon today (from 12am to 12pm), we had seen 375,000 visitors to HealthCare.gov – consumers who are learning, applying, shopping and enrolling.  Yesterday, we explained that the site can handle more than 800,000 visitors a day, and we are on pace for that to happen today.
  • Due to the demand we’re seeing, we’ve deployed our new customer queuing system, or waiting room, to help manage traffic. At approximately 10 am, our operations team - monitoring traffic patterns in real time - put the queuing system in place when they saw response times and error messages start to appear for consumers in the application process. Over the twelve hours from midnight to noon, the response time was more than 2 seconds and error rate averaged 0.9 percent.
  • Over the last several weeks, we’ve made a number of changes to improve the accuracy of the “834” messages to issuers.  The team, working with issuers, determined that more than 80 percent of 834 production errors were due to a bug that prevented a Social Security number from being included in the application, which in turn caused the system not to generate an 834. That bug has been fixed. Other issues related to the remaining 834 production issues have either been fixed or are in testing so that the fixes can be deployed soon.


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/.

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Submitted by Roger on
Have tried everything in your post and more. Have tried IE & Google Chrome. Have tried 3 different computers, 1 Vista & 2 XP. On the Login page, I type in username OK, its visible. Type in password, cursor moves but no black dots appear (invisible). Click enter, yesterday the username disappeared, today username disappears and sometimes a message indicates info is invalid. Does this with old and new usernames & passwords. On 12/1/13 at 5pm could log in OK, site was down about 2 hours when it came back up I have not been able to log in since. Have been logging in for almost 2 months with no log in problems until around 7 PM on 12/1. Using XP SP3, IE8. Any help would be appreciated
Submitted by Anonymous on
Please note: Pressing the Enter key after entering your username and password will not log you in. You physically need to select "Log in" with your mouse.
Submitted by Frances Stacey on
I applied, got approved for tax credits, and have an app ID. For 2 days now I have been trying to go back and look at plans and enroll. I keep getting stopped at a page that has lots of articles on how to enroll. The only box available to move forward is the little survey. When I come to the end it says "Survey Completed" (or the like) and offers links to social media to keep up. I have not chosen any. There is nowhere to go from there, I have called, and chatted, and there is no remedy! Help
Submitted by Glynis on
When you go to the healthcare.gov website, up at the top of the screen on the right it says 'Log In'. When you click on that doesn't it take you to a page to put in your username and password?
Submitted by chip on
you did not answer her question. I too have this problem. the sitr will not let you go back and enrool after you get you tax credit notice. Customer service is clueless to. After logging in it wants another app to continue to view and enroll in a plan.
Submitted by Sarah on
Log into your account. Under "view my current applications" you should see 2014 [state] application for individual and family coverage." Select that. Once you have selected it, you should be taken to another screen with a green button and a list of options on the left. If you have viewed your eligibility results and your application is complete, this button will say "resume enrollment." If you click that button you will be taken to another page, called the "Enroll to do list." There may be a message outlined in red at the top telling you to view your application details and to correct any issues before enrolling into a plan. Ignore this. On this same page you should also see a green button with the word "set" in it. Click that button. If you qualified for a tax credit, this step will allow you to enter the total amount of credit that you want to use for the plans. When you have saved this information, the next set will appear. This will ask you if you or if anyone else in your household smokes. Once you have answered that, the next set will appear and, if you click that one, you will be able to compare plans. It is very simple.
Submitted by Rich on
MESSAGE TO SCREENER (Glynis?)… don’t post this if you feel its best not to publicize (I don’t I would’ve sent privately but don’t know how). Or only post part of it perhaps the first 3 paragraphs (skipping the “sales pitch”). Do whatever you like. Thanks. Rich ------------------------------------------- I’m new to this blog just found it. It’s GREAT to see people posting positive productivity-enhancing ideas too (not just the negative stuff). With that in mind here’s one from me. Why not add “bubble help” functionality? Aka “hover cursor over to open an informational pop-up that auto-closes when you move the cursor”. I’m talking about eventually not right now (when you’ve got more pressing issues). Bubble help is a WONDERFUL THING because it provides clarifying info/data right where the rubber meets the road. Vs. shoppers having to go elsewhere, look it up (hunt & peck), or wonder what something means (because they don’t have the time/inclination to figure it out). Bubble help is a HUGE time (and positive attitude) saver. My employer’s website is loaded with bubble help links (words & phrases) and I know why: - it saves employees time (no need to go elsewhere), - it cuts down on re-training needs (and to some degree initial training needs) when info/details are at the employee’s fingertips (right when & where they need it), - it cuts down on calls to help lines (staffed by employees they have to hire, train, supervise, and pay), - it’s readily/rapidly/inexpensively updatable (once & done from a central server) by the “link owner” I believe we call the responsible person/department. I’m talking about offering bubble help for key/confusing/potentially-mystifying words and phrases, for example “family total” (re deductibles). Whereby hovering the cursor (over the superscript question mark) would open a plain language (!!) explanation of deductibles, individual vs. family. “Annual out of pocket max/cap” is another one people OFTEN get confused about what it actually means. I.e. does money spent on the following count toward it? - in-network co-pays, - out-of-network amounts exceeding “reasonable & customary” in their local area, - medical bills that (for one reason of another) get submitted late past the deadline. Is there a deadline? Maybe not or maybe it varies by state and/or insurer, - uncovered services, supplies, etc. (mentioning where to find the list of what’s covered & excluded). Bubble help informational pop-ups provide many advantages on multiple levels. Especially I would think re the vast federal government, where centralized “help” text could even be pulled into other/related systems. Thereby reducing information duplication making it that much more cost-efficient (economies of scale all that). Ok enough there’s my idea to toss in the ring. Again I’m not saying do it right away, something like this would be lower on the punch-list. Thanks.
Submitted by Chris on
This Obamcare "Website" is a comedy. In this day and age we expect precision, speed, accuracy and security in a website. You offer minimal if NONE of those. A public consumer would run from any other, if they had a choice. It should be shut down and work restarted to build in security from the start. Government representatives doing TV interviews would NOT guarantee the system's security, after being asked repeatedly. This is irresponsible if not Criminal behavior!! Quit giving excuses, be responsible and shut it down before terrible things happen.
Submitted by Glynis on
not true that government representatives wouldn't guarantee that it's secure. I've read many articles in which they reiterated that it is secure and the private contractors responsible for security testified to that. Of course since Republican's against the law are conducting the hearings you didn't hear them talk about that in interviews or leaked reports.
Submitted by jdf on
Sounds like your a democrat!
Submitted by Marla on
I have not been able to log in past three days...
Submitted by Glynis on
What happens why you try to log in? Are you getting an error message? Did you try to reset your password by using the 'forgot you password' link? Did you follow the steps in the 'having trouble logging in' link?
Submitted by Phyllis on
When I applied for the 3rd time, I had to do it with a representative because I can no longer sign into my account. All I have is an ID#. I really wanted something on paper. IBC is no help. They said I have to wait for an invoice for the plan picked out.
Submitted by Rich on
To Glynis re what you wrote below (assuming/figuring you work for HHS??). This is terrific except many (less tech-savvy) shoppers won't know how to do some of what you mention. So why not add a website address to your post that provides simple/straightforward how-to instructions (along the lines of the "For Dummies" books) for each popular browser. Perhaps adding something like: "For how-to instructions go to www.hhs.how-to-tweak-my-computer". HHS could even offer this address better yet a hotlink (opening in a new tab!) within the site itself, perhaps right on applicable error messages (in effect creating “smarter” error messages). Noting most shoppers don't even know this blog exists (I just found it) and if they did they wouldn't have the time/inclination. Trust me the unknowing would really appreciate it!! Otherwise frustrated shoppers end up having to Google-around looking for instructions they can understand, for each item your list, which only adds to their frustration. Why go there??! ------------------------------------------------------------------- Submitted by Glynis on Tue, 2013-12-03 11:52 If you're still stuck then use the new "Remove" button to delete that application and start over. First delete cookies, temporary internet files, and history then log out and restart your browser to delete anything saved on your computer from that application. Also make sure your browser and java plugin are up to date. -------------------------------------------------------------------
Submitted by James Wimberley on
Health gov has or at least had a web page with tips: https://www.healthcare.gov/blog/3-tips-to-remember-when-you-create-a-marketplace-account/ - though it doesn't seem to work just now. I agree that by now HHS should have an FAQ with answers to 25 or so common problems. One easy way to clean up your browser is to download a free housekeeping utility like CCleaner and let it do the work. Getting a new email address is quite easy. Your existing mail provider may allow you to create a new address, known as an "alias", on the same account. If not, go to Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail. or Mail.com. You never need to use the new address again once you have signed up - just notify your insurer of the change back.
Submitted by Rich on
Thanks James, I just know that busy people tend not to look hither & yon they get aggravated-to-ANGRY. Never heard of CCleaner but it sounds great that's what I'm talkin' about, easy-quick-foolproof. And I'll bet more people know how to create a new email than understand add-ons; it's the underlying/background stuff that challenges the less astute (computer savvy).
Submitted by Glynis on
No I don't work for HHS. I've worked for a software company and large health care system in the past doing training and support for major software rollouts. The instructions for how to do those things is included in the 'having trouble logging in' link on the website log in page. I have posted this numerous times but frankly got tired of continually repeating myself. If people would actually read the comments first before posting theirs they would likely find it has already been addressed not only by me but others. These are pretty basic steps that people should be able to do if they use their computer for more than just email or casual browsing. If they don't know how to clear cookies or update their browsers and plugins or like my sister don't know their mouse from their browser then they should not even attempt to enroll in insurance online. That's why there are other alternatives available. Not every problem people have is because of the website. It's also due to conflicts with other software they have running and the way their own computer is configured. People need to be comfortable troubleshooting computer problems and if they aren't then go to an alternate method.
Submitted by Nat on
So true! I think a lot of the problems people are having ARE self-inflicted....
Submitted by Ellen on
I have been trying since the beginning of October to get the insurance. It keeps saying in progress and need to verify identity. I called again yesterday and the woman said that she can read my eligibility, and it says that I qualify for Medicaid. She said that Medicaid would be sending me the information, but I could call them. I called and they have no information on me. I feel like I am stuck in place and nothing is going to happen. I have insurance but it will be cancelled. How long am I supposed to wait before someone figures this out?
Submitted by Glynis on
Use the new ability to remove your application and start over. There are many comments here that say this works for applications like yours from Oct and early Nov that are stuck.
Submitted by Mark Hamilton on
The process was fine and I am a certified broker for the marketplace exchanges. My advise is that when we finished and there was additional information requested pertaining to my employee offered coverage, it asked us for our application I.D. number and although I saw it as we flipped through, I did not know it or have it memorized or saved or even know that I would be needing it. So, if you could email that I.D. or have a pop up that lets people know that they should save that number, that would be very helpful. We were unable to continue because I don't know the I.D. number they are requesting. They issued the number and then asked me for it,. Think about that a bit.
Submitted by Glynis on
isn't the application ID included on the page that says "view my current applications"?
Submitted by James Wimberley on
Another suggestion for the report on November enrolments and applications. As of 2 November there were 672,855 people (702,619 total minus the 26,794 enrolled) whose eligibility had been determined by healthgov but had not signed up to a policy. We know the signup stage of the site still had severe problems at the time. One option open to applicants in this position is to contact their preferred insurance company directly. The report should try to estimate their number. By news reports, the reconciliation module of the site is still under construction. A properly designed process would have required insurers to make weekly returns of the numbers signing up directly, outside the websites. We don't of course have much confidence that the process was properly designed. A second best is to estimate the numbers by checking on a random sample. 1,000 should get you a result that's significant at the 95% level.
Submitted by Barb on
I have had problems getting an application made. I first started on Oct 5, and was unable to complete to see the options. I kept trying, finally in November I called and told agent of my problem, they said they would make the application for me, and to check on website the next day. I checked and saw that the account number that was listed was different from the one that the agent assigned me and that it said in progress. A month later the duplicate account was still IN PROGRESS, and had not been deleted in favor of the new account that the agent set up over phone. I called to see what was up and if I could see the options or hear the options. The agent said that they could not see the options because I now had an account set up that had my last name spelled incorrectly and that they could not fix or continue until someone calls me in the next 5 to 7 working days to correct. I need the insurance by January 1st and have really tried, to no avail.
Submitted by Glynis on
If you can see those applications when you log in you should be able to delete them with the new remove / reset options.