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How to Navigate the World’s Most Complicated Website

By now, it’s no big secret that the Healthcare.gov site’s initial roll-out was less than impressive. Although many critics were satisfied with the front end’s overall look, the performance itself was a disaster. Poor sign-up procedures, insufficient testing beforehand, lack of communication between developers, and grossly underestimating the traffic came together in a perfect storm of frustration that left many ACA critics crowing with satisfaction and a lot of unhappy people thwarted in their attempt at getting insurance.

With fixes supposedly in place, things should be totally better, right? Actually no, that’s not a good assumption to make. Every website has its issues, even after so-called fixes have been implemented. The best way to approach the ACA site now is with some good navigation tips under your belt to help reduce the likelihood of a problem. After you’ve familiarized yourself with the strategies presented below, get more details by reading “Four Tips for a Smooth Experience on HealthCare.gov”.

Here’s some ideas on how to make your way around the Healthcare.gov website with minimal fuss

Clean House First

Before logging on to the site, make sure to clear both your cookies and your cache. Start out clean. Once you’ve done that, make sure that your browser is set up to accept cookies. Hopefully, this will set the stage for a smooth, hassle-free visit. And speaking of browsers …

Make Sure You Have The Right Browser

While it’s not a given that using a browser like Firefox will lead to problems, Healthcare.gov recommends that Windows users go with Internet Explorer as their top choice, and Mac users employ Safari. But this need only be done if you’re experiencing site problems. For the record, the website does say that Firefox and Chrome work as well, provided you’re using Windows 7 or 8.

Mobile users will be glad to know that the site is compatible with Android. Safari works for iPad users who are using iOS 6 or 7.

Get The Right User Name/Password Setup

One early issue with Healthcare.gov was the fact that many users weren’t made aware of what characters were required in a user name or password. Familiarize yourself with the requirements by visiting here.

Timing Is Everything

For better response times, try logging on during off-peak hours, which in this site’s case is early in the morning, later at night, and weekends. Lighter traffic may result in faster speeds, but that’s not an absolute. Also, speaking of timing, you have until December 23rd to get coverage that begins on January 1st, 2015, and until March 31st for insurance for the rest of 2015.

Get Informed

You can also visit the website’s quick guide, a one-page (and thus a fast) overview of the Health Insurance Marketplace site as a whole. Having a one-stop information page like this at your disposal will reduce the number of other pages you have to needlessly visit, which should result in less time spent on the site as a whole.

Come Prepared

Finally, make sure you have all of your personal information handy, including Social Security numbers and dates of birth for everyone who needs coverage, as well as all of your financial information including income taxes, income, and student loan interest paid, if any. The more information you have within easy reach, the less time you’ll spend looking for the data and just letting your online session sit there.

The whole online health care insurance experience is still a work in progress and will endure more growing pains. But ultimately, if you can dodge as many of the pitfalls as possible, the final result will be worth it.

Written By

Born in the Boston area in 1959, I started writing in 1985. I live in Nashua NH with my wife and three cats. We have four kids in our blended family. I am an utter geek who's into gaming, horror, SF/fantasy, the Red Sox, trains, running, history, and a bunch of other things.

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