Federal health officials said they've been working around the clock and are bringing in extra help to solve the technical problems consumers have faced with applying for health insurance through the federal government's Healthcare.gov site.
The website serves as a portal to apply for health insurance through federally run marketplaces in 36 states. In the first 20 days since the marketplaces opened, almost half a million people applied for health insurance, but many others have been stymied by technical problems.
"Unfortunately, the experience on HealthCare.gov has been frustrating for many Americans," an Oct. 20 post on the Department of Health and Human Services website stated. "Some have had trouble creating accounts and logging in to the site, while others have received confusing error messages, or had to wait for slow page loads or forms that failed to respond in a timely fashion."
Officials said they updated the site several times with new code to fix bugs, added more capacity to meet demand and executed software fixes to address sign-up and log-in issues. To speed up progress, the department said it called in help to solve more-complex issues.
"Our team is bringing in some of the best and brightest from both inside and outside government to scrub in with the team and help improve Healthcare.gov. We're also putting in place tools and processes to aggressively monitor and identify parts of Healthcare.gov where individuals are encountering errors or having difficulty using the site, so we can prioritize and fix them," the department said.
Meanwhile, the "Data Hub," component, which provides Healthcare.gov with information to help determine eligibility for qualified health plans, is working, the department said. Individuals have been able to verify their eligibility for credits, enabling them to shop for and enroll in low or even no-cost health plans.