Users of HealthCare.gov, the troubled insurance-shopping website run by the U.S. government, were having problems logging in and completing applications again on Wednesday, an official said.
HealthCare.gov users encountered "sporadic" problems with site navigation Wednesday, particularly in the exchange insurance-shopping functionality of the site, said Julie Bataille, director of communications for the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services [CMS].
"The site is performing slowly," she said Wednesday afternoon. "Some users are having difficulty logging in and [are] receiving error messages."
The tech team at HealthCare.gov was working Wednesday afternoon to determine the cause of the problems, she said.
Overnight Tuesday, the team made several changes to the site, Bataille added. Among the "dozens" of fixes rolled out overnight were ones focused on improved user navigation, more accurate insurance eligibility processing, enhanced notification to users about incorrect data entry, and improved navigation for insurance applicants and agents to local partially completed applications, she said during a press briefing.
The tech team, in the overnight changes, also reworked the electronic-signature page to point users to next steps, she said. "Making HealthCare.gov as user-friendly as possible is one of our key goals," she said.
Earlier Wednesday, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told lawmakers that the IT team at the site still had hundreds of bug fixes to work through. Sebelius told the Senate Finance Committee, however, that she was confident that the team would meet President Barack Obama's goal of having the site working smoothly for the vast majority of users by the end of the month.
"Users are seeing far fewer error messages and timeouts" than they were in the first day after HealthCare.gov launched on Oct. 1, Sebelius told senators. The site is now able to process nearly 17,000 registrants per hour "with almost no errors," she said Wednesday morning, before reports of the site problems.
Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.