MA Performance Continuing to Improve

Published: October 09, 2013

HHSHealth CareHealth IT

According to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, wait times on are now 50% shorter than on October 1st, the launch date for open enrollment in health insurance exchanges as part of the Affordable Care Act. The number of error messages has also declined.

According to U.S. Chief Technology Officer Todd Park, the system was designed to support 60,000 simultaneous

users, but the site has attracted more than 250,000, Park told USA Today.  Projected demand for the system was based on demand for the Medicare Part D site, which supports 30,000 simultaneous users. 


Many users have taken out their frustration with the site on Facebook.  Over 1,500 comments about have been logged since the October 1st launch.  According to a Nextgov article, the majority of negative comments attack the healthcare reform law in general, but a number of users complain of long wait times, error messages and not being able to register.


Aneesh Chopra, former U.S. CTO, said in a New York Times article that he was confident that the system would be working effectively in the coming weeks.  “This is par for the course for large-scale I.T. projects,” Chopra said.


CGI Federal is the prime contractor for the federal exchange and Quality Software Services Inc., a unit of the UnitedHealth Group, operates the data services hub.  The exchange was built and is operated underl close supervision from CMS. GAO reported that CGI had received $88 million for work on the federal exchange through March, while Quality Software Services had received $55 million for work on the data hub.


According to Sebelius, engineers are working day and night to make upgrades, and more servers are being added so the system can handle larger loads.   Additionally, HHS has been upgrading the capacity at their 24/7 call center (800-318-2596).


Consumers have until Dec. 15 to enroll for insurance that will take effect on Jan. 1.