HealthCare.gov making progress, errors reportedly cut to 1%

Fixes to the troubled HealthCare.gov website appear to be working and the error rate is now less than 1 percent, according to a key White House official, The Hill reported.

Jeff Zients, the former White House budget director who was recruited to oversee the website repairs, told reporters that the special fixes show progress, but he stopped short of saying that all the problems were corrected. "It's likely that, as we move forward, we'll find additional glitches," he said. "Our bottom line continues to be that by the end of November, we will have the site working smoothly for the vast majority of users."

Next on the priority list is adding capacity to the system, according to Zients. The system is now handling 20,000 to 25,000 users at a time, according to The Hill

Meanwhile, the Obama administration says it will consider the website and federal insurance marketplace a success if 80 percent of users can enroll for health insurance online, the Washington Post reports.

The benchmark is the first concrete performance measure the administration has announced since work on the health exchange design began more than three years ago. To assess progress, the Post reported that officials review daily reports that show how long consumers must wait for pages to load on HealthCare.gov and how often they receive error messages.

But the 80 percent goal means as many as tens of thousands of Americans will be unable to successfully enroll online. Those individuals will likely fall into three categories, government officials told the Post: people whose family circumstances are too complicated for the website to determine their eligibility for health plan subsides; people who are uneasy buying insurance over the Internet; and those who encounter technical glitches with the site.

The White House has been scrambling to address all the website's technical issues as well as increasing lawmaker and public dissatisfaction with the flawed rollout. Last week President Barack Obama tried to correct one of the major concerns of the rollout: he announced that insurance companies could reinstate canceled policies that didn't meet the benefit requirements of the Affordable Care Act.

But insurance companies do not have to renew the policies and would need permission from state regulators to do so. And it's unclear how insurance companies will respond.  Last week, Health Care Service Corporation told FierceHealthPayer that it's working with federal and state regulators to determine next steps to comply with the new proposal while keeping members informed of all coverage options.

Meanwhile, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi downplayed the perceived defection of 39 Democrats who voted on Friday to pass a Republican bill, opposed by the White House, to allow insurers to continue selling individual policies that don't meet the standards, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Pelosi told NBC's Meet the Press on Sunday that the political party remains in support of the Affordable Care Act, the Times reported. "I don't think you can tell what will happen next year, but I will tell you this--Democrats stand tall in support of the Affordable Care Act," Pelosi said as to speculation the ACA could drag down the party in mid-term elections next year.

For more:
- read The Hill article
- here's the Washington Post article
- check out the Los Angeles Times piece

Suggested Articles

Most healthcare organizations are lagging in awareness and preparedness for compliance with proposed interoperability rules, according to a survey.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina and Cambia Health Solutions have jointly decided to end their talks to enter a "strategic affiliation."

California health officials have released their first report on the price hikes drug companies sought to shield.