Special to SEGAZINE
The technology team working to fix computers problems hobbling the federal insurance web site healthcare.gov may not have time for turkey this week. Federal officials set a Nov. 30 deadline to expand hardware capacity and fix software bugs for the site and say they are racing against the clock to make it work well “for the vast majority of users” by Saturday.
“We have a lot of work left to do in the next few days,” Julie Bataille, a spokeswoman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), told reporters Wednesday. Bataille said healthcare.gov, which launched Oct. 1 and is meant to facilitate health insurance enrollment for individuals in 36 states, can now handle 25,000 users at a time. She said CMS expects that capacity to double by Saturday. “We are on track for that to happen,” she said.
Yet, Bataille warned that Nov. 30 is “not a magical day.”
“There will be times after Nov. 30 when the site, like any website, does not perform optimally,” she said. Heavy traffic could overwhelm the site, causing long delays for consumers trying to sign up for coverage. Bataille said that by Saturday, CMS will implement a “more advanced queuing system” for consumers forced to wait for one of 50,000 user slots. In addition, the website may recommend some users leave and come back during “off peak hours” and will have a system to e-mail consumers when they can return to the website and enroll in a health insurance plan.