Thursday, October 10, 2013

HeathCare.Gov: Software Making it Hard to Get Health Insurance

Many of the 8.6 million unique visitors to HealthCare.Gov experienced difficulty accessing the website and enrolling in healthcare plans. These difficulties were caused by a limited system capacity and issues with the website’s software.

Reported glitches included not being able to access the registration portion of the website and long wait times for access to agents, brokers and the registration pages. The Department of Health and Human Services said that they were able to expand system capacity this week and will continue to do so in the future to accommodate the high volume of traffic on the website.

The issues with scalability occur when there are more users attempting to access the site than the system has capacity for. This is a hardware issue and may be resolved with adding more hardware that will increase system capacity.

One way the government is addressing this problem is by metering access. The idea is only a certain number of users are allowed to access the site at any given time. Any users that attempt to access the site once the maximum user threshold is reached will be put in a virtual line. These users will be allowed access as other users leave the site.

There are also bugs in the website’s code. These bugs are responsible for the error messages that appear when a user is trying to click various parts of the website but unable to do so. These types of issues will take more time to solve because they are more complex than just adding more physical equipment.

Articles Outlining Healthcare.Gov Software and Traffic Glitches:

Huffington Post: Obamacare Website Glitches Reveal Larger Government Problem

USA Today:Review: a winner despite glitches

Washington Post:A techie walks us through's two big problems

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