HHS: We've IDed the federal exchange problem—and we're on it

Users may have encountered a new exchange glitch

HHS officials said they identified elements causing a number of glitches and delays in the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) federal health insurance exchange—and they are working to fix them, Modern Healthcare reports.

The officials said they are working to increase server capacity in response to high user volumes and install software upgrades to make the site more capable of supporting a large number of users.

Further, officials said that a major software component of the site was "overstressed" and prevented consumers from accessing the site and creating accounts. To fix the problem, the component was moved to dedicated hardware from "virtual machine technology" to ease bottlenecks created by the large numbers of users.

In an email, HHS spokesperson Joanne Peters said, "Wait times have been significantly reduced and more people are logging on and applying" for health coverage. She noted the agency "won't stop until the doors to HealthCare.gov are wide open."

According to Modern Healthcare, state-run exchanges have had much smoother launches and have experienced fewer glitches than the federal exchange.

Existing users may need to create new usernames, passwords

Americans who created accounts through the federal exchange have been told they need to create new usernames and receive password resets in order to fix login problems and other technological glitches, the Washington Times reports.

According to the Times, technology website Ars Technica reported that customer service representatives on the exchange's phone support system have told recent exchange registrants that the changes are needed because many accounts were never transferred to the website's database, leaving the accounts "'stuck in authentication limbo.'"

However, users who make the changes still are not guaranteed that their information will be saved in the system, according to the Times (Ernst, Washington Times, 10/9; McKinney, Modern Healthcare, 10/9 [subscription required]).

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