The technical glitches associated with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act online exchange may be inhibiting a fair number of Americans’ ability to enroll in government insurance plans. Despite these disheartening system setbacks, some IT professional recruiters could be happy to hear that these issues may lead to increased interest in tech work.
The federal health care exchange opened October 1, only to be met with an ample share of technical difficulties. After nearly a month of repair attempts, IT contractors have yet to sort out all of the issues impairing even the most fundamental functions of HealthCare.gov.
“Unfortunately, the experience on HealthCare.gov has been frustrating for many Americans,” a Health and Human Services post stated. “Some have had trouble creating accounts and logging in to the site, while others have received confusing error messages, or had to wait for slow page loads or forms that failed to respond in a timely fashion. The initial consumer experience of HealthCare.gov has not lived up to the expectations of the American people. We are committed to doing better.”
IT’s take on exchange issues
In light of all of these problems, IT professionals are coming out of the woodwork and voicing their expert opinion with regards to how severe the online exchange’s situation may be. USA Today explained that critics throughout the tech field have identified lacking technological solutions as the crux of the issue.
The news source reported that some are saying the systems being employed by the government to run the exchange website is about a decade behind the times. As a result, it is really no wonder why the portal is not performing the necessary enrollment tasks at hand. Because the technology being used is so outdated, it is unable to handle the massive amount of activity coming onto the site.
“The application could be fundamentally flawed,” stated Jeff Kim, president of CDNetworks, according to USA Today. “They may be using 1990s technology in 2.0 world.”
For this reason, as soon as the system is inundated with too much user traffic, it becomes overwhelmed and cannot process any of the data entered. With so many Americans heading to HealthCare.gov to purchase a medical insurance plan, this has become a regular occurrence.
To fix these frequent exchange glitches plaguing consumers, IT professionals believe that the government will have to make more than a couple of minor tweaks. In fact, some experts think that even after the basic, initial repairs now being made to the program, the platform may ultimately have to be completely reconstructed.
While the site appears to be operating better, it is still far from user-friendly. USA Today explained that despite all of the immediate changes made to HealthCare.gov, Americans navigating the portal still have to put in a great deal of effort. For instance, some of the hoops through which consumers must jump include disabling their pop-up blockers, emptying their cache numerous times and opening various window so that they can actually enroll.
“I have never seen a website – in the last five years – require you to delete the cache in an effort to resolve errors,” Dan Schuyler, a director at Leavitt Partners, said to USA Today. “This is a very early Web 1.0 type of fix.”
Some critics claim that this system just will not work, regardless of however many repairs IT professionals may make. Government representatives and their tech teams, however, continue to try to make do with the program that they already have in place.
“We continue to work around the clock to improve the consumer experience on HealthCare.gov,” affirmed HHS spokeswoman Joanne Peters, as cited by the news source. “We are seeing progress – wait times to begin the online process have been virtually eliminated, and more consumers are creating accounts, completing applications and ultimately enrolling in coverage if they choose to do so at this time. However, we will not stop addressing issues and improving the system until the doors to HealthCare.gov are wide open.”
Tech professionals flock to government work?
Luckily for tech recruiters looking to place IT professionals in government positions, it seems as if this health care exchange fiasco will be of help to them. Shavran Goli, president of an online IT recruiter, informed Nextgov that with all of this publicity concerning the ACA’s technological glitches, a growing number of tech contractors may direct their job seeking attention toward government work.
“This is a broad reach, high-impact project that potentially looks at big data problems, and that’s one of the fastest growing areas for tech employment,” said Goli.
There are several factors contributing to the increasing appeal of government contract work for IT professionals. Large scale, high-profile technical issues such as these entice those in the information technology field because of they want to be challenged. Add to that the fact that government work tends to give IT employees a stronger sense of purpose, and they will surely be tempted to jump into the federal employment pool.