The Obama administration hired a general contractor to oversee fixes on Healthcare.gov to make the site useable for the millions who need it. To be clear, the site does function and has processed more than 700,000 applications so far. But it isn’t easy to use and it’s discouraging and frustrating to many who need affordable health care.
Jeff Zients, a technology consultant brought in to figure out what’s wrong, apparently thinks it’s fixable. Health and Human Services spokeswoman Julie Bataille says, “At the request of the President and Secretary Sebelius, Jeff worked over the last week with a team of expert engineers and technology managers from leading technology companies around the country to assess the overall state of the HealthCare.gov site.
In Jeff’s own words, “The topline result of this assessment is that the HealthCare.gov site IS fixable. It will take a lot of work, and there are a lot of problems that need to be addressed, but let me be clear: HealthCare.gov is fixable.”
The assessment identified key problems including speed, response time, reliability issues and bugs that prevent the software from working the way it’s supposed to. There is a sense of urgency and we’re told that tech people will work around the clock to improve the website. It’s predicted that it will be easier to use by the end of November.
That’s a bit of a problem, since you have until December 15th to sign up for Obamacare. And so President Obama and administration officials are encouraging people to use Healthcare.gov to sign up even if it’s slow, clunky and frustrating. Remember Healthcare.gov is one of four ways to sign up.
- Apply online. Visit HealthCare.gov to get started.
- Apply by phone. Call 1-800-318-2596 to apply for a health insurance plan and enroll over the phone. (TTY: 1-855-889-4325)
- Apply in person. Visit a trained counselor in your community to get information and apply in person. Find help in your area at LocalHelp.HealthCare.gov.
- Apply by mail. Complete a paper application and mail it in. You can download the paper application form and instructions from HealthCare.gov.