The logistical and technical problems with the Department of Health and Human Services’ health insurance portal, www.healthcare.gov, have been well-covered in the mainstream media. Although the site appears to be functioning better than it did when it opened on October 1, some technical glitches remain, and some private contractors that were involved in various aspects of the site have recently attempted to distance themselves from the balky parts of the system.
In a statement on October 10, HHS spokeswoman Joanne Peters said, “We have a strong team in place, including external contractors, who are working around the clock to improve Healthcare.gov. We have a plan in place and are making progress, but we will not stop until the doors to Healthcare.gov are wide open.” The federal government is operating insurance exchanges, or “marketplaces,” in 36 states through the healthcare.gov website, with the first coverage to be effective beginning January 1, 2014.
In contrast, initial technical problems with some states’ own exchange websites have been fixed, and some bottlenecks caused by user volume dissipated quickly. A number of exchanges, notably those in Connecticut, New York, California and Kentucky, have experienced minimal issues to date, and have reported receiving and processing large numbers of applications. Rhode Island, Minnesota and Nevada’s exchanges, on the other hand, have had difficulty communicating with the federal data hub to verify verifying applicants’ identities, but these glitches now appear to have been fixed.