U.S. delays plans to replace Healthcare.gov site host: WSJ

Reuters News
Posted: Oct 01, 2014 7:57 PM

(Reuters) - The U.S. government has shelved plans to move the HealthCare.gov insurance website to a new host, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.

The decision represented "the best path forward to ensure a successful second open enrollment period. It was made in order to improve the consumer experience and have sufficient time for testing," the journal reported, citing Aaron Albright, a spokesman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The agency signed a contract last November to replace Verizon Communications Inc with Hewlett-Packard Co as the host of the HealthCare.gov website.

Verizon, which was blamed for the outages last year, has upgraded its servers and brought in additional staff to handle the load when open enrollment begins, the Journal said, citing people familiar with the situation.

Albright also said the agency was taking other steps to manage peak traffic, including transferring around 75 percent of newcomers visiting the site to a portion hosted by Amazon Web Services.

Testing so far suggested that the capacity for this portion of the site had grown significantly, but was still likely to be maxed out at certain points, forcing users into virtual "waiting rooms," the Journal quoted one person familiar with the matter as saying.

(Reporting by Sudarshan Varadhan. Editing by Andre Grenon)