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Nathan Golia
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What Went Wrong With Healthcare.gov? 9 Views

Tech experts, health insurance players and of course political figures offered an array of opinions as to what went wrong with the federally run insurance marketplace.
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This article contains reporting from Katherine Burger, Zarna Patel, and Kelly Sheridan.

It's been about three weeks since the health insurance exchanges at the core of the Affordable Care Act went live, and results have been dismal. Consumers complained of long wait times on load screens and dropped applications late in the process, and insurers have expressed worry about the accuracy of the data they're being sent. But with the recent government shutdown resolved — for the time being — President Obama has begun marshaling a "tech surge" to improve the site's performance. But what are the root causes of the issues? Following are several ideas from across the spectrum.

Nathan Golia is senior editor of Insurance & Technology. He joined the publication in 2010 as associate editor and covers all aspects of the nexus between insurance and information technology, including mobility, distribution, core systems, customer interaction, and risk ... View Full Bio

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IvySchmerken
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IvySchmerken,
User Rank: Author
11/2/2013 | 6:46:15 PM
re: What Went Wrong With Healthcare.gov? 9 Views
Failure to test sounds downright foolish. What about a test case? Should they have rolled out the entire functionality at once with all of its contingencies and complexities?
KBurger
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KBurger,
User Rank: Author
11/1/2013 | 7:13:48 PM
re: What Went Wrong With Healthcare.gov? 9 Views
Frankly, much of the mainstream media, too.
Jonathan_Camhi
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Jonathan_Camhi,
User Rank: Author
11/1/2013 | 4:01:41 PM
re: What Went Wrong With Healthcare.gov? 9 Views
I love Andy Borowitz:"'looking serious and nodding our heads a lot' contributed to the
illusion that committee members had even scant comprehension of what was
being discussed." That's Congress for you.
Greg MacSweeney
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Greg MacSweeney,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/31/2013 | 2:28:52 AM
re: What Went Wrong With Healthcare.gov? 9 Views
Oh yes. The DoD uses open source every chance it gets. In fact, most gov't agencies not only allow open source, they actively push for it. If open source is good enough for the DoD, I'm pretty sure it is good enough for healthcare.gov.
KBurger
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KBurger,
User Rank: Author
10/30/2013 | 1:35:45 AM
re: What Went Wrong With Healthcare.gov? 9 Views
Exactly. I've heard similar discussion elsewhere, that the methodology itself (waterfall) is completely outdated and not how systems are developed/implemented today -- which we know from our coverage of core systems modernization. Meanwhile, here's another "enlightening" New Yorker analysis that casts a cynical eye on the congressional outrage -- read it and laugh: http://www.newyorker.com/onlin...
KBurger
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KBurger,
User Rank: Author
10/30/2013 | 1:31:12 AM
re: What Went Wrong With Healthcare.gov? 9 Views
Are government projects allowed to use open source? I know there are a lot of restrictions on how these products are planned (due to guidelines around contractors, etc.) -- altho maybe that is a misconception used as a rationalization for why this was so poorly handled.
Jonathan_Camhi
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Jonathan_Camhi,
User Rank: Author
10/29/2013 | 5:17:58 PM
re: What Went Wrong With Healthcare.gov? 9 Views
Here's an interesting take on how the project was mismanaged that I found from the New Yorker: http://www.newyorker.com/onlin...
Greg MacSweeney
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Greg MacSweeney,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/29/2013 | 9:47:20 AM
re: What Went Wrong With Healthcare.gov? 9 Views
The failure of the launch has to do with a lot of things (scope creep, too many cooks/contractors, lack of oversight, unneeded complexity, failure to test, a hard deadline, and more).

Perhaps the biggest contributor was the refusal to use open source to help build the site. A good portion of the code was available to build healthcare.gov in the open market. It would have saved time, cost and reduced many of the errors, since the site would not have to be built from scratch.
Jonathan_Camhi
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Jonathan_Camhi,
User Rank: Author
10/28/2013 | 9:10:48 PM
re: What Went Wrong With Healthcare.gov? 9 Views
I might be the only one who feels this way (at least no one else I know agrees with this opinion) but I think this issue has been very overblown. This is the biggest social program that the government has instituted since before I was born. There were bound to be hiccups. I'm sure it's frustrating for people looking to sign up but this is a large-scale program that will likely be in place for a long, long time. A bad launch doesn't mean the death of a program. It's embarrassing, sure. But anyone who thought the act was going to be instituted without problems given our current political climate and the scope of the program were fooling themselves.
mnasca
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mnasca,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/28/2013 | 6:22:26 PM
re: What Went Wrong With Healthcare.gov? 9 Views
Here is a link that shows how website design, user expectations (based on experience with other websites), and when and how to actually enroll people may have all contributed to the failure.

HealthCare.govGs Account Setup: 10 Broken Usability Guidelines October 27, 2013

HealthCare.govGs account setup process is unnecessarily complex and may be contributing to backend technology failures.

http://www.nngroup.com/article...

Additionally, wasn't the company hire by the government to develop HealthCare.gov the same company that was fired by the Canadian government for failure to deliver as promised?
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