Sebelius touts Healthcare.gov’s ‘dramatic’ improvements

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Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Monday said more consumers are shopping and enrolling through the federal exchanges now that HealthCare.Gov is running better.

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“Today’s user experience is a dramatic improvement over where it was on Oct. 1,” Sebelius wrote in a USA Today op-ed. “The site is running faster, its responding quicker and it can handle large amounts of traffic.”

In a conference call on Sunday, the administration said it hit its deadline of having the website running smoothly for the vast majority of users by Nov. 30.

When the website went live on Oct. 1, it was supposed to be able to handle 50,000 users at one time, and officials have indicated the site will be able to function at that capacity going forward.

The next test will come in the days leading up to the Dec. 23 enrollment deadline for those hoping to have insurance by Jan. 1. The administration is expecting a last-minute flood of consumers visiting the website.

While expressing confidence in the fixes that have taken hold so far, Sebelius also sought to temper expectations.

“Now, there will be exceptions, and (as with any website) we will continue to make improvements,” she wrote.

Sebelius encouraged people to visit the site during off-peak hours, touted the queuing system in place for when the site is flooded, and directed potential consumers to sign-up options available offline; either by phone, in person, through the mail, or directly through an insurance company.