Operational Update for Healthcare.gov, December 23, 2013

Washington, DC—(ENEWSPF)—December 23, 2013.

From Julie Bataille, Director of CMS’ Office of Communications

Today is a record day for HealthCare.gov and consumers seeking affordable health care options. As of 2:00 p.m. today, we’ve seen approximately 850,000 visits to HealthCare.gov – approximately five times higher than the same amount by that time last Monday.  This is on top of the more than 1.2 million site visits this weekend. The system is handling this record number of consumers who are completing their enrollments well, with a low overall error rate averaging less than 0.4 percent and quick response times averaging well less than a second despite the increased traffic.

As expected given our high demand, with concurrent users reaching more than 60,000, just before 11:00 a.m. we deployed our advanced queuing system and will do so as needed throughout the day to allow consumers to successfully complete their applications with an optimal user experience. These decisions are being made in real time, based on site metrics and web traffic. Consumers can either wait or submit their email to be invited back to the front of the line to find affordable health coverage.  So far today, more than 60,000 consumers have provided an email address to get their invitation to return later.  

The deadline for signing up for coverage to start January 1 is today. We recognize that many have chosen to make their final decisions on today’s deadline and are committed to making sure they can do so. Anticipating high demand, which we are currently experiencing, and the fact that consumers may be enrolling from multiple time zones, we have taken steps to make sure that those who tried to enroll today but had delays due to high traffic have a fail-safe. Consumers should not wait until tomorrow. If you are aiming to get coverage January 1, you should try to sign up today.

Finally, we continue to work with insurers to confirm enrollment and inform consumers on their next steps to ensure that they are covered beginning January 1, including paying their first month’s premium to insurers. As announced last week, a number of insurance companies have decided to allow a later payment date for coverage to begin on January 1. Consumers should still check with their issuer to confirm the date their first month’s premium is due.  All consumers will have until at least Dec. 31 to pay, or at the time their issuer sets, as many plans have extended the deadline to Jan. 10.

While today is a significant date for Americans looking to secure coverage beginning January 1st, it is important to remember that we are about halfway through the full six month open enrollment period. We will continue to work to ensure that HealthCare.gov and our other enrollment channels continue to improve and are available for consumers looking to sign up for affordable coverage by the end of March.

Consumers Tips:

1.      If you want insurance starting January 1 you should sign up today, but if you have trouble due to high-demand, we will make sure we help you get signed up.

2.      Open enrollment goes through March 31, 2014 – you can sign up for coverage any time through then.

3.      Even though you are signed up, you still need to pay your insurance company and follow-up with them about your new policy.

4.      Three more months, that is the amount of time you have before open enrollment closes, so if you don’t need coverage Jan 1, you still have time.

Source: hhs.gov