HealthCare.gov was not tested in full until it went live

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter
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Administrators were unable to test the HealthCare.gov website until it went live on October 1, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Marilyn Tavenner said Tuesday.

In the month since it went live, HealthCare.gov has been characterized by a large number of glitches and breakdowns, frustrating people attempting to sign up for insurance on the exchanges.

Testifying before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, Tavenner said that while they had tested the various individual components of the website, they had not tested the entire site, functioning as a whole, until it went live on October 1.

“We just could not do the live end-to-end tasting until October 1,” she said, saying that hey had been able to test the system in a “live environment” until then.

Tavenner said that when the site launched, “what I expected was a site that worked, with some issues.”

But when the site was being used in a “live environment,” she said, they discovered they had not accounted for the volume of users, nor had they realized that having to sign up using an email account would pose such an issue for users.

“Those were two things we did not expect,” she said.

At a hearing earlier this month on the House side, contractors who built components of the sight testified that the two weeks left for testing the website’s components was not sufficient, and that more time should have been left to ascertain that everything was working as planned.

“We knew all along we would have bugs in the system,” Tavenner said earlier in the hearing. “I think we obviously had more bugs than we realized.”

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