Government: Access to Health Marketplace is Improving, Secure

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Senators Seek Answers on Health Marketplace Woes
Senators Seek Answers on Health Marketplace Woes

(HealthDay News) -- A top Obama administration health official said Tuesday that HealthCare.gov -- the troubled federal website used to sign up for insurance -- is improving, and insisted that private information provided during the online application process is safe and secure.

"I want to assure you that HealthCare.gov can and will be fixed quickly, and we are working literally around the clock to make that happen," Marilyn Tavenner, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, told the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. The hearing was held to discuss the status of the federal health insurance exchange. The exchange, which also serves 36 states, is one of the keys to the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama's bid to offer health coverage to millions of uninsured Americans.

The administration's goal has been to enroll seven million uninsured Americans by the end of March through the federal and state-run health exchanges. So far, the administration has declined to provide enrollment figures. A report last week, based on informal memos released by the Republican-chaired House Oversight Committee, indicated that only six people had signed up for coverage on the first day of open enrollment, Oct. 1.

Tuesday's hearing -- the Medicare chief's second appearance on Capitol Hill since the website rollout -- highlighted privacy and security concerns. Tavenner said the online application for coverage is "protected by stringent security standards, [and] the technology underlying the application process has been tested and is secure."

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