WASHINGTON (AP) — Visitors to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) HealthCare.gov exchange enrollment website are encountering fewer errors, and the system now works most of the time, administration officials said Sunday in a progress report.
Developers have fixed more than 400 bugs, including some that were interfering with 834 transaction completion reports, and the percentage of consumers with the right documents who can complete applications online has increased to about 80 percent, from only about 35 percent a few weeks ago, Julie Bataille, a representative for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), said during a CMS press call.
More than 50,000 people can now log on to the website, and more than 800,000 people will be able to shop for insurance coverage each day, Bataille said.
CMS is the HHS agency in charge of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) exchange program.
Jeff Zients, the chief HealthCare.gov troubleshooter, said CMS and its system integrator, QSSI, have improved site operations by identifying weaknesses in software, hardware and management.
“The bottom line — HealthCare,.gov on December 1st is night and day from where it was on October 1st,” Zients said.
But “there is more work to be done to continue to improve and enhance the website and continue to improve the consumer experience in the weeks and months ahead,” HHS officials wrote in a memo to reporters.
Bataille noted that CMS is working on a pilot project that gives 16 insurers in three states the ability to enroll consumers who qualify for PPACA subsidies in coverage directly, without making the consumers come in through the HealthCare.gov system.
The White House is hoping for a fresh start. A wave of bad publicity over the site’s early failures cast a shadow over the president’s chief domestic achievement.
Even with the repairs in place, the site still won’t be able to do everything the administration wants, and companion sites for small businesses and Spanish speakers have been delayed. Questions remain about the stability of the site and the quality of the data it delivers to insurers.