Healthcare.gov is reportedly scheduling an official downtime for the purpose of maintenance. Estimated to be held every Sunday, from the beginning of November to the end of December this year, the planned time period of offline maintenance is to be of 60 hours in total.
The schedule, however, is not much different from the last year’s maintenance downtime. This only indicates how the Trump administration has failed to make any productive amendments about reducing the time period, keeping in mind all the criticism it got last year by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for preventing customers from enrolling in medical plans.
The downtime has been officially notified by the HHS officials to brokers, assisters, and agents through a webinar on Tuesday. Reportedly, 38 states follow Healthcare.gov and all of them will likely experience a downtime for five out of the six Sundays, starting from November 1st, 2018. The restricted timings will be from 12 AM to 12 PM. There might be a possibility that the downtime could be lesser than the planned schedule like it happened last year.
The administration has invested very little effort in planning to put the restricted hours early in the morning, based on the reported status of queries during that time slot. The schedule will be followed by the start of the next month i.e. from November 1st till December, only omitting the final day of open enrollment.
Maintenance time-offs are generally required by IT team to let them go through the improvements and updates needed. The Center of Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) plans to do the same for Healthcare.gov, and coordinated their time with the Internal Revenue Service, the Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration.
In a statement given by a CMS spokesperson to Fierce Healthcare, he said, “Similar to last year, we are sharing the maximum potential HealthCare.gov maintenance windows to allow agents, brokers, and assisters to plan in advance of Open Enrollment”. He added that “Regularly scheduled maintenance will continue to be planned for the lowest-traffic time periods on HealthCare.gov, including Sunday mornings.”
There’s also no sign of the claimed, “technical limitation for planned maintenance” as told by the former Chief Information Officer, Mr. Baitman. The request from lawmakers to investigate the planned downtime however, led the authority to re-examine the work plan of the federal marketplace enrollment system.