By Jim Donovan
PHILADELPHIA (CBS)–It’s been two months since the Obama administration rolled out the health care enrollment website and, from the start there were problems. The administration vowed to fix the issues by December 1. 3 On Your Side Consumer Reporter Jim Donovan has a status report.
You may recall that in October I tried numerous times to enroll on the website without success. Instead I ended up having to fill out a paper application and mail it in to an office somewhere in Arkansas. That was a month ago and I still haven’t heard back. So today after the website was supposed to be in better shape, I tried again.
Error messages, spinning wheels, system down. Healthcare.gov was riddled with problems from day one. To fix the troubled site the Obama administration enlisted the help of private sector tech talent and the President put management consultant Jeff Zients in charge of the overhaul.
Two months and more than 400 individual repairs later the administration announced it met their self-imposed deadline saying the website’s error rate has fallen to “well under one percent.” According to Zeints, “The bottom line: Healthcare.gov on December first is night and day from where it was on October first.” The administration progress report says that the site can now handle up to 800,000 visits a day. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney says, “Something on the order of 375,000 visitors had gone to Healthcare.gov by noon today.”
So today I tried to sign up again from scratch. When I logged onto the site said it had lots of visitors and instructed me to wait. But there was an option that allowed me to input my email address so I could be alerted when the site was less crowed, so I tried it. It said ‘sorry there was an error, please reload and try again’.
So I waited. After an 8 minute wait I finally was able to start an application. The online application took 20 minutes to fill out, and I had to input several items more than once. Finally I got to the point where I could compare insurance plans. What did I see? Nothing. The site didn’t allow me to look at, or compare any plans.
Another interesting thing that I noticed, the site told me that I had to purchase health coverage by December 15th in order to be covered by that insurance on January 1st. That’s wrong information. Because of all the glitches with the site, the enrollment date had been extended by an additional week to December 23rd and based on what I am still seeing. You may need every extra day you can get.