The White House announced Sunday it has met its goal to make the Healthcare.gov website operate smoothly for most users.
"The bottom line is health care.gov on December first is night and day from where it was October first," said Jeffrey Zients, the president's appointee to fix the website's problems. "The site is now stable and operating at its intended capacity at greatly improved performance."
At the beginning of November, Zients said the site had an "up time" of just 43%. As of Nov. 30, the site's up time was 95%.
"We have a much more stable system that's reliably open for business," Zients said.The Los Angeles Times reports:
But the performance of the troubled HealthCare.gov website, which consumers in 36 states are supposed to be able to use to sign up for health coverage, still falls well short of basic standards for Internet-based commerce.
Errors on Web pages and unscheduled outages remain far more common than on commercial sites. Some consumers still run into dead ends when navigating deep into the application and enrollment process, say advocates who work with the site to enroll uninsured Americans.
Moreover, while parts of the site that consumers use function much better, the complex systems necessary for processing applications and sending consumer information to insurance companies still don't function properly, insurance industry officials say.
Ironically, improvements to parts of the website used by consumers could exacerbate these "back-end" problems. Many companies are nervous about being deluged by bad data if consumers flood the website in coming weeks to get coverage by Jan. 1.
"It's a significant concern," said Wayne Powell, vice president of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City. "If we get a deluge, assuming the website pipeline opens up, it's going to be very challenging."
In all, it is still unclear whether the improvements in the website have fulfilled the president's pledge to get the primary gateway to the Affordable Care Act working smoothly for the "vast majority" of users by the administration's self-imposed Saturday deadline.