SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Nation/World

October 9, 2013

Questionable design blamed for health website woes

(Continued)

The result seemed strange to Maureen Bardusk of Galena, Ill., who’s hesitant about giving her personal information before she can shop.

“I’m reluctant to give information so it can be tracked when I’m simply looking for information,” said Bardusk, who’s looking to replace expensive temporary coverage she’s had since her husband was laid off in June.

“I don’t want to be part of a marketing scheme,” she added. “I assume they set it up that way so they could see who’s coming in, how many times they come in and what they buy after they get there...but that isn’t really customer-oriented.”

Colorado, one of the states that designed its own market, made a deliberate decision to allow window-shopping, the opposite of what the feds decided.

Officials didn’t want to “spook” consumers, said Gary Schneider, IT program manager for Connect for Health Colorado, the state’s marketplace. “We were trying to be less intrusive and create a more consumer-friendly experience.” Consumers are allowed to set up their accounts after they’ve narrowed their options.

Window-shopping is the norm at most e-commerce sites. Consumers can shop online for books at Amazon, flights at Travelocity, hotel stays at Hotwire and staples at Staples — all without creating an account or registering. The sites ask for personal information only when customers say they are ready to check out.

The Obama administration says government technical experts are on their way to solving the accounts creation problem. Independent experts say other glitches may be lurking as the more complicated functions of the website come into play, including real-time verification of identity, legal residence, family composition and income.

“My suspicion is once they get these problems resolved, then we are going to the next layer, and that will expose new problems,” said Curtis, the software quality expert.

“Since this system was developed in a rush they did not have time to thoroughly test it,” he added. “The American people are now doing that for them.”

___

AP Medical Writer Carla K. Johnson reported from Chicago.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Nation/World

Local News
  • Keenan to resign to take Salem State job

    SALEM — State Rep. John Keenan said Tuesday he will resign from office Aug. 24 to take a new job as vice president of administration at Salem State University.
    His announcement ended months of speculation about where the five-term Democrat would end up after leaving the Legislature. As it turns out, he is leaving four months before his term would have expired.

    July 29, 2014

  • Environmentalists criticize mercury recycling bill BOSTON -- Recycling mercury from old thermostats and light bulbs is mandated under a bill being weighed by Gov. Deval Patrick, but environmentalists say the legislation doesn't do enough to protect waterways. If signed by Patrick, the new law will re

    July 31, 2014

  • Briscoe Middle School first and second honors BEVERLY -- The following students were named to the first and second honor roll for the fourth quarter of the 2013-2014 academic year at Briscoe Middle School: FIRST HONORS Grade six: Olivia Acciavatti, Avery Barror, Connor Barry, Emma Beqiri, Sophi

    July 31, 2014

  • Police Peabody Tuesday Cristina Miller, 28, of 261 Newbury St., was arrested around 9:03 p.m. from Macy's on Andover Street on charges of second offense shoplifting and trespassing. Someone on Aborn Street called officers at 10:25 p.m. on a report of youth

    July 31, 2014

  • Axe in Windshield Close call on I-95 in Topsfield when loose ax chops through windshield

    TOPSFIELD — Some motorists on Interstate 95 southbound had a scary moment Wednesday around 11 a.m. when a loose ax flew off a landscaper dump truck in front of them and cleaved partly through their car's windshield.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo