The countdown is on.
The Nov. 30 deadline to get HealthCare.gov up and running is less than a week away, and while the rest of Washington is getting ready to depart for the Thanksgiving holiday, the site’s tech-surge team will continue to work close to “24/7″ to get the site in shape.
Perhaps purposely lowering expectations after promising a fully functional website by the end of November, the Department of Human and Health Services is now saying the glitches and problems are not over.
“The system will not work perfectly on Dec. 1, but it will operate much better than it did in October,” Julie Bataille, director for the Office of Communications at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, said Monday on a conference call with reporters.
By the end of the month, the website will be able to sustain the numbers that had originally been planned for — 50,000 users on the site simultaneously. That translates to approximately 800,000 visits a day from consumers.
But curb your enthusiasm.
“As we move forward, we will find additional glitches and experience intermittent periods of suboptimal performance,” said Bataille. “As we make these improvements, we expect to see intermittent periods when the system may be slow or not responsive. But we’ve made measurable progress and we are moving forward.
“There will be times when volume on healthcare.gov will exceed this demand and we are preparing for that,” Bataille continued. “If we experience extraordinary demand, consumers may not immediately be able to complete the application, but they will be queued in order to ensure a smoother process. …”
And don’t expect the outages to go away. Last week, there were at least two outages and on Sunday there was an “unscheduled outage” that lasted about an hour.
A report on new enrollment numbers can be expected sometime next month.
So while the tech-surge team won’t be enjoying much of a holiday, the call center will be closed for 24 hours on Thanksgiving Day.