Struggles Out of the Gate

Michele Warg
Posted by, the government gateway site that allows users to purchase health insurance that meets government health care standards from a variety of competing companies, continues to face a slew of technical and programming problems that make it difficult if not impossible for many users to sign up and choose their insurance plans. Common issues include timeout errors and slowness from excessive traffic on the site as well as bugs and error messages arising from programming errors. The government health care portal may also suffer from traffic problems created by interference from those who oppose government intervention. Health care professionals should understand how these glitches could affect insurance information as the new plans take effect.

The government health care gateway currently struggles with buggy software that prevents completion of forms and creates a variety of different errors. These errors include missing or corrupted data; sometimes the site gives users messages about errors that they cannot correct. Health care professionals should be aware that some state-run health care sites can be used to enroll in health plans; this may be helpful for patients, especially those with high-priority health care issues. While continues to struggle, many states have already met or exceeded federal enrollment goals.

Programming errors go far beyond the occasional bug or glitch. Many insurance companies are receiving information from the site that has corrupted or incomplete information that prevents enrollment. This has resulted in the cancellation of policies sold on the exchange that were not actually eligible due to incompatibility with the Affordable Care Act, which required the creation of the healthcare exchanges. The White House recently reached out to insurance companies to help them deal with the problem of incomplete or corrupted data.

A third issue arose from the large number of users attempting to enroll using the federal government health care site. Those looking for coverage of their health care issues may be unable to access the site due to traffic problems. Ars Technica recently reported that a hactivist tool available online lets those opposed to government intervention in health care help exacerbate the traffic issue by spamming dedicated denial-of-service attacks designed to interfere with the government health care site's regular operation.

The rollout of the official federal government health care website,, has been fraught with errors and glitches that are unlikely to be resolved very quickly. Different government officials have set November 30 as the deadline for resolution of the errors, but problems persist. Interference by hackers and the regular traffic generated by the government health care site will continue to pose challenges, and health care professionals should advise their customers to use state-run websites where and when available.


(Photo courtesy of


Become a member to take advantage of more features, like commenting and voting.

Jobs to Watch