U.S. plans 'tech surge' to fix balky health exchanges

Summary:The web-based, federally-run insurance exchanges went online on October 1, but they have been beset with problems.

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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said this weekend that it will solicit outside assistance to fix some of the technical problems that have affected the rollout of the federally-run insurance exchanges that came online on October 1.

The exchanges are core to the Affordable Care Act—colloquially, "Obamacare." 

"The experience on HealthCare.gov has been frustrating for many Americans," the department wrote in a blog post on its website. "Some have had trouble creating accounts and logging in to the site, while others have received confusing error messages, or had to wait for slow page loads or forms that failed to respond in a timely fashion. The initial consumer experience of HealthCare.gov has not lived up to the expectations of the American people. We are committed to doing better."

The department characterized the initiative to fix the exchanges as a "tech surge," referencing the rapid increase of U.S. military personnel in Afghanistan in 2009.

"Our team is bringing in some of the best and brightest from both inside and outside government to scrub in with the team and help improve HealthCare.gov," it wrote. "We're also putting in place tools and processes to aggressively monitor and identify parts of HealthCare.gov where individuals are encountering errors or having difficulty using the site, so we can prioritize and fix them. We are also defining new test processes to prevent new issues from cropping up as we improve the overall service and deploying fixes to the site during off-peak hours on a regular basis."

Topics: Health, Government : US

About

Andrew Nusca is a former writer-editor for ZDNet and contributor to CNET. He is also the former editor of SmartPlanet, ZDNet's sister site about innovation. He writes about business, technology and design now but used to cover finance, fashion and culture. He was an intern at Money, Men's Vogue, Popular Mechanics and the New York Daily Ne... Full Bio

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