HealthCare.gov still has issues that need to be addressed to ensure long-term functionality, despite the series of fixes HHS already has made to the site, the U.S. Government Accountability Office said in a report issued Wednesday.
“Since the troublesome launch of HealthCare.gov, CMS has taken various actions to address the problems that impeded the initial use of the website and its supporting systems,” according to the report. "Nonetheless, even with these efforts, (GAO) assessments continued to identify issues.”
The report comes two weeks after the close of the second open-enrollment period in which 8.8 million people signed up for coverage on the federal marketplace. Few major malfunctions with the site were reported during the three-month period.
Nevertheless, HHS needs to do to more to strengthen its chief information officer's involvement in oversight of the site and its supporting systems.
“Until HHS does so, it cannot be assured that the implementation and ongoing operation of this high-risk IT investment will continue to provide adequate and sufficient support to millions of Americans seeking to enroll in healthcare plans through the federally facilitated marketplace,” the report said.
HHS should also document and approve systems testing policy and procedures and require key information in system test plans, the report noted.
In a Feb. 20 letter to the GAO, HHS officials said work is underway to address the suggestions.
It also reiterated that the site has improved compared with how it functioned during the initial stages of the first open-enrollment period.
For example, by Jan. 28, 2015, HealthCare.gov was handling more than 125,000 users simultaneously and nearly 1.4 million unique logins on a single day. HHS' goal going into the open-enrollment period was to be able to have 50,000 users on the site at one time and 800,000 unique visits on a single day, the agency said.
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