Bummer: The Initial Consumer Experience Of Healthcare.gov Didn’t Live Up To Expectations

by William Teach | October 21, 2013 7:02 am

As Obamacare ramps up with huge numbers moved to Medicaid and Medicare, along with those who will obtain insurance through the Exchanges (eventually), consumers should be prepared for lots and lots of failed expectations. Unless your expectation is poor service, poor care, byzantine dealings in order to use your insurance, lots of out of pocket costs, denial of some treatments and medicines, and long waits for care

(HHS[1]) Unfortunately, the experience on HealthCare.gov has been frustrating for many Americans. Some have had trouble creating accounts and logging in to the site, while others have received confusing error messages, or had to wait for slow page loads or forms that failed to respond in a timely fashion. The initial consumer experience of HealthCare.gov has not lived up to the expectations of the American people. We are committed to doing better.

It’s The Government. We don’t expect any of it to do better.

In response, we have made a number of improvements to the account service. Initially, we implemented a virtual “waiting room,” but many found this experience to be confusing. We continued to add more capacity in order to meet demand and execute software fixes to address the sign up and log in issues, stabilizing those parts of the service and allowing us to remove the virtual “waiting room.” Today, more and more individuals are successfully creating accounts, logging in, and moving on to apply for coverage and shop for plans. We’re proud of these quick improvements, but we know there’s still more work to be done. We will continue to conduct regular maintenance nearly every night to improve the experience.

They should have left the waiting rooms in, that way those with Obamacare can get used to them. As for regular maintenance, HHS is supposedly bringing in the “best and brightest” to fix the website. I wonder how much it will cost the American People to fix this $634 million boondoggle of a website?

(Politico[2]) The changes will give people more information and options up front without having to wrestle with the flawed online process. It gives more information about health plan choices and provides clearer instructions on how to download a paper application, get through by telephone or find someone to assist in person.

“As part of our ongoing efforts to make improvements every day, new content is being featured on HealthCare.gov in response to user feedback. It’s now easier than ever to preview plan information, access a downloadable application form and find in-person help in local communities,” HHS spokeswoman Joanne Peters said[3] in a statement released late Sunday evening.

The changes allow people to see health plans and prices in their region without having to jump over online hurdles that have aggravated millions of people trying to get on the Healthcare.gov site, the portal for health-care coverage in the 36 states where HHS is running the insurance exchanges.

Those are things that they initially wanted to hide till they had everyone’s personal information. And they have updated. Down at the bottom of healthcare.gov you can find pre-subsidized rates without giving more than very basic information. Unfortuantely, once you get to the plans you only get the costs, not what the plans actually cover. What are the details. What the network is. Copays. Deductibles. In other words, what you’re paying for.

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove[4]. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach[5].

  1. HHS: http://www.hhs.gov/digitalstrategy/doing-better-making-improvements-healthcaregov.html
  2. Politico: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/10/obamacare-website-hhs-98588.html?hp=r3
  3. said: https://www.healthcare.gov/blog/we-re-listening-and-improving-every-day/
  4. Pirate’s Cove: http://www.thepiratescove.us/
  5. @WilliamTeach: http://twitter.com/WilliamTeach

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