special report

The Technology Behind Obamacare

The Oct. 1 launch of proved rocky. The website was supposed to help people choose and enroll in health care plans, as required under the Affordable Care Act, but most early visitors experienced only glitch-filled frustrations.

Below is Nextgov's continuing coverage of the technology that will make or break the Obama administration's signature policy initiative.


Heartbleed Means Users Must Reset Passwords

April 19 The online marketplace's homepage directs users to change their login information.

Flagging Tweets Didn't Weigh Down Late Obamacare Enrollments

April 18 The White House drastically slowed its #GetCovered Twitter campaign after March 31.

Federal Websites Avoid Heartbleed Risks, DHS Says

April 11 But Akamai systems powering the Obamacare website contained the data-leaking vulnerability. Still Glitchy for Medicaid Enrollees

April 10 The size of the problem is hard to pinpoint, as experiences vary by state and info is largely anecdotal.

An information table advertising California's health care exchange sits in downtown Los Angeles in January.

Remember the Woes? State Exchanges Had the Same Problems

April 3 Issa argues state exchanges were redundant and unnecessary.

Two Atlanta residents fill out HealthCare.Gov applications at the Atlanta Medical Center South Campus Monday.

Obamacare Clears 7 Million Sign-Ups

April 1 A last-minute surge gives the White House a major victory.

Obamacare Sees Social Media Surge Ahead of #Deadline

March 31 struggles to meet demand Monday.

More Glitches Hit Obamacare Site on Sign-Up Deadline

March 31 Technical problems strike again as last-minute shoppers flood the site with traffic. Shows Symptoms of Its Own on Final Enrollment Day

March 31 The site was down for maintenance Monday morning.

Obamacare Enrollment Tops 6 Million

March 27 The White House clears a major milestone with four days left in the enrollment window. Visits Surge Ahead of Obamacare Enrollment Deadline

March 26 Consumers must try to sign up for a plan by March 31. Bugs and 16 Other Ways to Qualify for an Obamacare Extension

March 26 The administration releases a long list of loopholes to the enrollment deadline.

Obamacare Enrollment Deadline Extended for Victims

March 26 Consumers who say they tried to sign up for health coverage before the March 31 deadline will get more time.

Two States Want to Extend Obamacare Deadline Because of Glitchy Websites

March 18 Oregon's exchange doesn't work; Nevadans get error messages reminiscent of's early days.

"Last week, saw more than 4 million visits—and an additional 1 million visits this weekend," Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Marilyn Tavenner wrote in a blog post.

Obamacare Hits 5 Million Enrollees

March 18 HHS says traffic is up, and the call center had its busiest day since December.

Campaign Urging Technologists to Sign Up for Obamacare Sags on Day 2

March 13 #GeeksGetCovered peaked at 359 Twitter mentions on Tuesday.

Rep. Kerry Bentivolio, R-Mich.

Federal Website Security Bill Moves Forward in House

March 12 Measure would require CIOs to certify websites collecting citizens’ information are safe.

75 Percent of Hospitals and Clinics Are Worried about Hacks

March 12 Most health facility operators surveyed said Obamacare, in general, increases the risk of compromising patient data.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius

Obamacare Enrollment Slows Again in February

March 11 About 4.2 million people have signed up for insurance through and other sites.

Obamacare Cloud Contract Will End Up Costing 10 Times Its Original Value

March 10 CMS extends its Verizon contract for seven months because of delays in moving to a new cloud host.