Tuesday, October 8, 2013

ACA Exchanges: Sloppy Software, Stray Codes and Poor Web-Efficiency Techniques

“The website is troubled by coding problems and flaws in the architecture of the system, according to insurance-industry advisers, technical experts and people close to the development of the marketplace.

Among the technical problems thwarting consumers, according to some of those people, is the system to confirm the identities of enrollees. Troubles in the system are causing crashes as users try to create accounts, the first step before they can apply for coverage.

Experian PLC, an information-services firm, holds a federal subcontract to support that system. The company declined to comment.

Information technology experts who examined the healthcare.gov website at the request of The Wall Street Journal said the site appeared to be built on a sloppy software foundation. Such a hastily constructed website may not have been able to withstand the online demand last week, they said.

Engineers at Web-hosting company Media Temple Inc. found a glut of stray software code that served no purpose they could identify. They also said basic Web-efficiency techniques weren't used, such as saving parts of the website that change infrequently so they can be loaded more quickly. Those factors clog the website's plumbing, Media Temple said.”

“So far, Web-traffic problems are allowing only a small trickle of buyers, said John Gorman, chief executive of Gorman Health Group, an insurance-industry consulting firm with clients selling policies on the exchanges.

Large insurers have seen enrollment figures totaling in the hundreds each, said Sumit Nijhawan, chief executive of Infogix Inc., a data-integrity firm that works with such insurers as WellPoint Inc., Aetna Inc. and Cigna Corp.

So far, many tens of thousands of people had started the application process but the number of those who were able to create accounts and shop for coverage is likely in the low thousands, according to people with knowledge of the situation and estimates by insurance-industry advisers.

The administration has declined to say the total number of enrollees.” - Software, Design Defects Cripple Health-Care Website, Wall Street Journal, 10/06/2013

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