Obamacare site hits reset button on passwords as contractors scramble
Three years wasn’t enough time to get this massive IT effort past the finish line.
by Sean Gallagher – Oct 8 2013, 10:10pm +0300
Amid all the attention, bugs, and work happening at Healthcare.gov in light of the Affordable Care Act, potential registrants talking to phone support today have been told that all user passwords are being reset to help address the site’s login woes. And the tech supports behind Healthcare.gov will be asking more users to act in the name of fixing the site, too. According to registrants speaking with Ars, individuals whose logins never made it to the site’s database will have to re-register using a different username, as their previously chosen names are now stuck in authentication limbo.
The website for the Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”) launched just last week. With all the scrutiny and debate happening, if ever there was a website launch that was “too big to fail,” this was it. So, of course, it did—depending on how you define “failure.” The inability of Obamacare portals to keep up with the traffic demands initially put upon them has been seized by politicians and conservative pundits as evidence that Obamacare “is not ready for prime time” in the words of Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). Now, a week later, the site appears to be stabilizing, with waiting times dropping dramatically for those who haven’t been able to register before.
A test of the site this morning had me waiting four minutes to get to the signup page; others got on instantly. But problems persist beyond the front door. The contractors responsible for the exchange—CGI Federal for the website itself, Quality Software Systems Inc. (QSSI) for the information “hub” that determines eligibility for programs and provides the data on qualified insurance plans, and Booz Allen for enrollment and eligibility technical support—are scrambling to deploy more fixes. Technical support call center operators continue to handle an onslaught of calls from users who can’t get back into the system after registering.
In addition to would-be Healthcare.gov registrants notifying Ars about the password reset and login limbos, Ars learned that changes made to profiles already within the system may not be saved either—a problem that is only indicated by a very non-descriptive error message.
Ars attempted to contact the contractors with Healthcare.gov but did not receive a response as of this writing.