Whenever more than 20,000 to 30,000 people attempt to use the website at the same time, the system struggles. That traffic level is about half of the website's intended capacity. It's reported that CGI Federal, the contractor charged with building the site, has repaired only about 60% of the defects it has addressed so far.
Last week, President Obama said that the “Website is already better than it was at the beginning of October, and by the end of this month, we anticipate that it is going to be working the way it is supposed to, all right?”
Those involved in the federal website are concluding that the only way thousands, even millions, of Americans can enroll in the exchange's plans soon is by placing more emphasis on alternative methods for buying health plans, so it isn’t overburdened. This enrollment "divide-and-conquer" strategy includes:
Establishing federal call centers: Unfortunately, federal call centers have been plagued with complaints that telephone representatives lack the authority to correct errors in online applications. Consumers with routine questions are foten promised specialists who will call them back, but the calls never come.
Relying more on the insurance industry: Insurance companies have been pressing Federal officials for greater ability to sign up customers directly. However, they are unable to complete enrollments because they must connect with the federal online system to determine whether customers’ incomes qualify them for tax credits to help pay for their insurance — a part of the system that does not work. Therefore, the industry is currently working on contingency plans, in case the website continues to have problems.
The 2010 Affordable Care Act requires most Americans to have health insurance by Jan. 1.