HealthCare.gov has been refurbished and may be better than it was last year
HealthCare.gov has been refurbished ahead of the beginning of this year’s open enrollment period. Last year, the site sought to offer people throughout the country with access to inexpensive health insurance policies they could find through their state’s insurance exchange. As is often the case, ambitious concepts tend to fail to live up to expectations and the site struggled to accomplish its goal. Severe technical difficulties rendered the site unusable for some people, which left them without access to the insurance policies they had wanted to purchase.
Site experienced major problems during the 2013-2014 open enrollment period
This year, the federal government believes that the site will be much more capable at handling consumer needs. Using past mistakes as lessons, the government has revised the website, hoping that it will provide people looking for insurance coverage with a different experience. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has enlisted a new contractor that has more access to funds than those that worked on the site in the past. This organization has been tasked with rooting out the bugs and other problems the site has had.
Bugs and technical difficulties created problems for consumers
During the first day that HealthCare.gov was live, only six people were able to enroll for insurance coverage. In the first ten days of the site’s life, some 14.6 million people visited HealthCare.gov looking for insurance. A relatively small number of these people were able to find what they were looking for and purchase coverage because of bugs. A federal investigation revealed that the site had not been properly tested by its developers before its official launch. This time, however, the site has been rigorously tested in order to prevent a repeat of last year’s poor performance.
New HHS Secretary is being cautious about the next open enrollment period
The site’s performance was enough to cause Kathleen Sebelius to resign as Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. Her successor, Sylvia Mathews Burwell is taking a careful approach on the matter of insurance exchanges this year. She has declined to predict how many people will be able to enroll in the new site so as to avoid future criticism if the site fails to live up to expectations once again.