The technical snafus plaguing the new Obamacare website will be fixed by the end of November, almost two months after the site’s initial rollout that allowed Americans to sign up for health care insurance exchanges, officials said Friday.
The Obama administration is tasking one of the key contractors on the project, QSSI, to oversee the fixes and expects HealthCare.gov to be “running smoothly” by the end of next month.
“We are confident that by the end of November, HeathCare.gov will be smooth for the vast majority of users,” said Jeff Zients, a former budget official tapped by the White House to lead the project.
“The system is getting better,” he said in a conference call. “There is a lot of work to do but HealthCare.gov is fixable.”
Zients said the user experience has already been improved in recent weeks with 90% of users able to set enrollment in motion by creating an online account. But he said only three in 10 users were successfull in making it through the application process.
Both Democrats and Republicans have doled out criticisms of the botched rollout, accusing the administration of being ill-prepared for the open-enrollment period, even after having spent years of planning and millions of dollars for President Obama’s signature legislation. Executives of contracting firms defended their work on the project before lawmakers on Capitol Hill Thursday.
CGI Federal, a top contractor for the website, said full testing of the site began less than two weeks before it was meant to serve millions of Americans. Its executive, Cheryl Campbell, said contractors needed more time to ensure the site functioned properly and it was the responsibility of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid to provide adequate testing ahead of time and see it is able to run smoothly.
Administration officials are expected to visit 10 cities across the country in coming weeks to promote the health care insurance enrollments. Immediately out of the gates from its Oct.1 rollout, the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, was rife with technical glitches nationwide as Americans attempted to sign up for health insurance. Officials say over 700,000 applications were completed in its first weeks. Health and Human Service officials said they were not expecting the volume and demand.