Local web expert: Healthcare site fix unlikely 'until Thanksgiving'

Local web expert: Healthcare site fix unlikely 'until Thanksgiving'

(KLTV) - Fifteen days after the government's healthcare website launched, many users still cannot get through to sign up for health insurance.

The White House blames a high volume of users wanting sign up for the problems.

But local web designers said the government's website simply is not ready to do the job.

Michael Mahfood runs Tyler's Group M7, a company that builds, runs and hosts over 1,000 websites.

"If my company was hired to do a website and we turned it live, and it didn't function, I'd expect we'd be refunding money," Mahfood said.

In a head-to-head test of the site: two different attempts to sign up, two different results.

The website requires basic information like a user's name and email, then security questions and answers. Finally, users arrive at a page to create a user name and password.

The first attempt ended with a system message of: "Your account could not be created at this time. The system is unavailable."

In the second attempt, Mahfood was able to create an account. The next step was supposed to be an email to activate the account and then apply for insurance.

But after an hour and a half of waiting, Mahfood still had not received anything. It's something the web professional cannot believe.

"That happens on a daily basis," he said. "You log in, you complete an application, it processes and approves it. Going from airline tickets to buying insurance, but nothing's happening here."

Mahfood messaged a representative using the site's live chat feature. Their response about his email problem: "We have a lot of visitors using our website right now. It may take a few hours before you receive an email with your login information. Keep trying."

Hours later, Mahfood still never received an email. That was not the case for the account that was "unable to be created." An hour after that attempt, two verification emails came through, confirming the account was set up.

The next step is to activate the account and select the plan. Once online, the link led to a page that said, "Success!" However, navigating past that led to a dead end: yet another error page.

"There isn't enough bandwith anywhere for 100 million or 150 million people to respond at one time," Mahfood said. "There's probably not enough equipment. I think that they knew this. They simply pushed the website forward to keep up with what the fact that the Affordable Care act is ready to be applied for."

It's something the President has acknowledged as well.

"Apple rolled out a new mobile operating system, and within days, they found a glitch, so they fixed it," President Obama said. "I don't remember anybody suggesting apple should stop selling iPhones or iPads or threatening to shut down the company if they didn't."

So how and when will the fix be ready?

"I'm certain they'll have to do it in time," Mahfood said. "It's not going to happen today or tomorrow, probably not until thanksgiving. They're going to have to put a lot more power and a lot more computers behind this."

Until then, the best option may just be to wait it out.

Officials said you can still enroll the old-fashioned way, either over the phone or by mailing in a paper application.

Consumers have two months until the deadline to enroll for coverage beginning January 1st.

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