Massachusetts Working on Health Site’s Glitches

As the federal government continues to troubleshoot problems with healthcare.gov, officials in Massachusetts are grappling with glitches on the state’s website.

The same company, CGI group,  that designed the federal site designed the Massachusetts site.  And it is experiencing some of the same problems.

Bill Curtis is a technology expert from the firm CAST. He says the code on the front end of the Massachusetts site is inefficient, which slows everything down.

“That’s not the way you  would have found a front end being built by Amazon, Ebay or Microsoft or Google or the people who do this on a professional day-by-day basis,” Curtis says.

On the Facebook page of the Massachusetts Health Care Connector, consumers complain about error messages, long waits, and frozen screens when they have tried to sign up for insurance.  A woman writes, “I have spent six hours online.” And a man complains that he’s tried to sign up 5 times.

Published reports say the state website has only managed to enroll slightly more than one thousand people – just a sliver of the more than 100,000 whose health policies are being canceled.

Massachusetts officials have said they are fixing the problems. They also postponed the deadline for residents to sign up for a health insurance plan by 3 months to March 31st, in line with the federal deadline.