HHS Blog: Improved Window Shopping on HealthCare.gov to Help Consumers Enroll, Dec. 2, 2013

Washington, DC—(ENEWSPF)—December 2, 2013.

By: Julie Bataille, Director of Communications, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

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 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.

Please note this @Healthcare.gov tweet from this evening: HealthCare.gov  high volume – 750k visitors as of 5:30pm, no queuing now, site fast w/ low error rate.

Source: hhs.gov