Skip to main content

Obamacare call center reps get password reset script by mistake

By CNN Staff
updated 6:56 AM EDT, Fri October 11, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Obamacare call center reps were provided with an incorrect script
  • Script mistakenly said that all Healthcare.gov passwords needed to be reset
  • Officials say enrollees can continue to use their current passwords

(CNN) -- If you contacted the federal Obamacare call center early Thursday morning, you may have been told that your password for Healthcare.gov needed to be reset. But that is not the case, officials from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services say.

Consumer passwords for the Obamacare website have not been reset, HHS officials say, but call center representatives were mistakenly given that incorrect information.

"A wrong script was provided to call center representatives," one HHS official told CNN. "It's been corrected. The wrong script was read for only a short time -- just this morning."

ArsTechnica, a technology new and information website, first reported that people were being told to reset their passwords on Tuesday, October 8.

Obamacare glitches continue
McKeon: Enrollment in 'single digits'

A second HHS official said enrollees can continue to use their current passwords.

The federal site for the Affordable Care Act has been plagued by technical glitches since it launched on October 1. Many of the consumers looking to sign up for health insurance the first day didn't get very far. They were often greeted by a message that said:

"We have a lot of visitors on the site right now. Please stay on this page. We're working to make the experience better, and we don't want you to lose your place in line. We'll send you to the login page as soon as we can. Thanks for your patience!"

Healthcare.gov is handling Obamacare enrollment for 36 states that didn't fully establish their own insurance exchanges, also called marketplaces.

Federal officials blamed higher-than-expected traffic volume for the first day glitches -- on October 1, some 4.7 million people visited HealthCare.gov and 133,000 contacted the call center at 1-800-318-2596.

But for the last 10 days, visitors to Healthcare.gov have continued to experience slow connection speeds and error messages preventing them from purchasing insurance. HHS has been taking down parts of the site during off-peak hours to make improvements by adding more server capacity; moving certain over-stressed components to dedicated hardware; and making software changes to increase efficiency.

A specific software component that crashed under the high volume of visitors is mainly to blame for the glitches, a federal official confirmed to CNN on Tuesday.

"At lower volumes, this software component would work fine, and at higher volume, that's what created the problems," the official said. "We've made software changes to make the system more efficient and be able to handle higher volumes."

CNN's Elizabeth Cohen, Adam Aigner-Treworgy and Jacque Wilson contributed to this story.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 11:05 AM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
On Tuesday, two U.S. appeals courts issued conflicting rulings on a subject that's important to millions of people: the availability of subsidies to help purchase coverage under the health-care law.
updated 10:06 AM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
It was a tale of two rulings -- the best of times and the worst of times for Obamacare in the federal appeals courts.
updated 6:00 AM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
President Barack Obama's poll numbers are nothing to brag about, but there's little evidence he has suffered so far this year a "Katrina moment" that caused his predecessor's numbers to plummet.
updated 6:00 AM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
More than half the public says Obamacare has helped either their families or others across the country, although less than one in five Americans say they have personally benefited from the health care law, according to a new national poll.
updated 8:01 AM EDT, Fri July 11, 2014
House Republicans are going forward with plans to sue President Barack Obama and will base their legal case on the sweeping health care law he championed and they despise.
updated 4:13 PM EDT, Fri July 11, 2014
They tried in Congress, at the ballot box and in the Supreme Court, but Republicans have been unable to stop Obamacare.
updated 9:21 PM EDT, Mon June 30, 2014
The Supreme Court's decision was "sweeping," a "huge blow to the Obama administration," and a "shot in the arm for the evangelical movement," analysts said.
updated 7:45 PM EDT, Mon June 30, 2014
The ruling gives certain companies a right to raise religious objections to providing some types of birth control insurance to their employees leaves a number of important questions in its wake.
updated 6:41 PM EDT, Tue October 29, 2013
Nationally, consumers are learning a number of well-known hospitals won't accept insurance under Obamacare.
updated 1:16 PM EST, Mon December 23, 2013
Open enrollment started October 1. Here's a step-by-step guide to navigating the insurance marketplaces, also known as exchanges.
updated 4:37 AM EDT, Sat October 19, 2013
Obamacare has survived a Supreme Court appeal, a government shutdown and ongoing challenges by opposing politicians. With few exceptions, every American must have health insurance by March 31 or pay a penalty fee.
updated 10:44 AM EDT, Thu September 26, 2013
If you don't know what all those health insurance buzz-words like "co-pay" and "premium" mean, you're not alone.
updated 11:57 AM EDT, Wed October 2, 2013
Lauren Zanardelli and Graham Foster are the kind of customers the government needs to make Obamacare work.
It's a popular assertion, but is it true? The CNN Politics team hunts down the facts.
Some may offer help navigating the new health insurance marketplace for a fee. Others will warn that you will need a new Medicare card.
updated 12:57 PM EDT, Mon September 30, 2013
Who's in, who's out... and what about the costs? CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta breaks down Obamacare.
Consumers can avoid the exchanges by buying plans directly from insurers or through brokers. But should they?
Here's the first look at insurance premiums on 36 exchanges run by the federal government.
updated 10:46 AM EDT, Wed September 25, 2013
If we want to be realistic about health care reform, we have to acknowledge that everything comes with a tradeoff, Dr. Aaron E. Carroll says.
Check out our page with all things you need to know about Obamacare and how it will affect you.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT