HHS: Expect glitches on HealthCare.gov

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell is expecting at least some snags during the second year of ObamaCare sign-ups.

“We will have things that won't go right. We will have outages, we will have downtime,” Burwell said Monday in a discussion hosted by the Center for American Progress.

Even after hundreds of federal workers spent months rebuilding the site, Burwell warned that some customers would run into glitches.


“Something will happen. What we need to do is be transparent, be fast and get it fixed,” Burwell said in one of her many public appearances ahead of open enrollment on Nov. 15.

The Obama administration has felt the pressure to improve the functioning of its much-maligned HealthCare.gov website. Burwell, formerly the head of the government budget office, was brought in after last year’s disastrous rollout, which prompted her predecessor, former HHS Secretary Kathleen SebeliusKathleen SebeliusThe Hill's Coronavirus Report: Mike Roman says 3M on track to deliver 2 billion respirators globally and 1 billion in US by end of year; US, Pfizer agree to 100M doses of COVID-19 vaccine that will be free to Americans The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Former HHS Secretary Sebelius gives Trump administration a D in handling pandemic; Oxford, AstraZeneca report positive dual immunity results from early vaccine trial Coronavirus Report: The Hill's Steve Clemons interviews Kathleen Sebelius MORE, to resign.

Since then, HHS has reconstructed several parts of the site to allow for higher traffic. She said the site has been tested every day.

Burwell also acknowledged that the upcoming open enrollment period will be tougher, in some ways, than last year. Customers will have fewer weeks to sign up, and those who still remain uninsured have been harder to reach.

The remarks came just hours after HHS officials lowered their overall enrollment expectations for ObamaCare sign-ups. The department is now anticipating about 4 million fewer people compared to its initial projection.

Still, Burwell said she is predicting a generally successful open enrollment period.

“Open enrollment this year will be a positive experience for the consumer,” she said. “Will be have challenges? Yes. But the experience is one, overall, that will be a positive one.”