Demand for Health Insurance Marketplaces Online is Solid - Even Overwhelming

by Patrick Riley 02 Oct 2013
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I was involved in healthcare interactive work for a few years, building Websites, online SEO, mobile applications, smartphone and tablet work in Objective C and Titanium and each and every site or app I worked on had "glitches." In fact, we planned for them, allowed time after the "go live" date to fix, what we called, bugs. Again, it always happened.

So, given the magnitude of the demand shown yesterday, which was the first opportunity for consumers to go online and shop for health insurance using online portals, what HHS refers to as health insurance marketplaces or exchanges. Let's pull out of the politics and reporting of "glitches" and look at what really happened yesterday.

The hardest thing to accomplish in working with any interactive tool is driving traffic to the site, or what is referred to as search engine optimization, or SEO. in New York State, a state that got approval to run and promote its own health insurance marketplace received 2.5 million visitors to their marketplace URL in the first half-hour. In California, another state administering and managing its own marketplace, saw as many as 16,000  hits a second. The 36 states where the federal government is running the marketplaces also recoreded 2.8 million online healthcare consumers visiting their site as well.

I would have loved to have been able to watch the Google Analytics spikes as the exchanges went online. This was a historical event in terms of queries and online activity, unprecedented in its size and scope. And as bugs are elminated over the next few hours, activity will only increase.

In addition, people were also able to connect through call-centers and health insurance plan navigators. So, all indications are that the residual systems in place also worked and are actively looking to improve performance. Patience is said to be virtuous. I predict that over the next 30 days we will see historic enrollment numbers and continued comfort with the software and HTML code. Make no mistake, healthcare in America is transforming. This healthcare consumer train will not be stopped by political pomp and circumstance.

I will continue to write and discuss this phenomenon. You can follow me on Twitter @Patrick_FrostHC and tomorrow i will offer a Frost & Sullivan Market Insight on Health Insurance Marketplace readiness.

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