Summarizing a week's worth of intensive diagnostics, the administration acknowledged Friday the site has dozens of complex problems and tapped a private company to oversee fixes.
It will take a lot of work, but "HealthCare.gov is fixable," Zients declared.
The vast majority of the issues will be resolved by the end of November, he asserted, and there will be many fewer screen freezes. He stopped short of saying problems will completely vanish.
The administration also said it is promoting one of the website contractors, a subsidiary of the nation's largest health insurance company, to take on the role of "general contractor" shepherding the fixes.
HealthCare.gov was supposed to be the online portal for uninsured Americans to get coverage under President
The briefing from Zients came a day after executives of QSSI and the other major contractor,
Visiting a community health center on Friday in
Zients gave some new details about the extent of the problems, but administration officials are still refusing to release any numbers on how many people have successfully enrolled. Although 700,000 have applied for coverage through the new online markets, it's believed only a fraction of that number actually managed to sign up. Before the website went live, an administration estimate projected nearly 500,000 people would sign up in October alone.
The marketplaces are the gateway to obtaining health insurance under the new health care law, which requires most Americans to have coverage by
The federal government is running the insurance markets or taking the lead in 36 states. The rest were set up by states themselves.
Consumers have until
Zients said almost daily fixes are already having an impact. For example, more than 90 percent of users can now complete one of the first steps, creating an account.
But the application process, which involves submitting and verifying personal information and income details, remains "volatile," he said. At one point, as few as one-third of users were getting through that part.
Zients said there are two big categories of problems. Performance issues involve the speed and reliability of the website. Functional issues are bugs that keep the software from working as intended. Among the high-priority issues is that insurers are getting enrollments with incomplete, incorrect or duplicative information.
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