Screenshot of HealthCare.gov on October 1, 2013, the first day the health insurance exchanges went online
WASHINGTON (AP) - Independent experts say a design decision to require that consumers create online accounts before they can browse available health plans under President Barack Obama's insurance overhaul appears to have led to many of the program's technical problems.
Most e-commerce websites - as well as Medicare's plan finder - don't require those merely browsing to set up accounts.
But it's one of the first steps on healthcare.gov.
Consumers trying to create accounts multiplied the volume of online transactions that overwhelmed the website last week, causing long waits and frustration. Reports of delays persisted Tuesday.
Allowing consumers to browse anonymously was one of the recommendations of Enroll UX 2014, a $3 million, 14-month project to design a prototype insurance marketplace site.
But the administration took another path.