Streamlining State Health Care Exchanges (A.K.A. ObamaCare)

Much has been made about the various enrollment websites affiliated with health insurance through provisions in the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. “Obamacare”). While every state has an exchange, many of them were created by the federal government, with a few created by their states.

In 2014 there was a great deal of backlash over problems with several of the websites: Constant crashing, not providing adequate security for personal information, and just overall poor navigation which often confused many customers.

When developing a comprehensive marketplace website such as these health insurance exchanges, the need for testing is vital to account for the potentially hundreds or thousands of customers who may be on the site at any one time.

However with many of the exchanges, doing the proper regression and time shift testing to account for past, present and future issues with the website and its incorporated software was found to be difficult. Reasons abound, but most issues were primarily due to the infrastructure in which the exchanges were built.

One state in particular was having a difficult time doing its regression testing within Microsoft’s Active Directory (AD). Especially as it referred to addressing possible rule and/or policy changes that would have had to be imparted. Not to mention the increases in volume and traffic as enrollment deadlines approached. In AD, this state was having struggles working with the system clock, which meant that various regression testing would take longer to conduct because working around the system clock was problematic.

The solution was to find software that could allow for software testing behind the back of the system clock without impacting any of the work the server was performing while on that very clock.

This state utilized our software-testing platform, Time Machine®, to conduct efficient regression tests on its exchange platform without any effect on the system clock or the servers. One of the administrators of the exchange commented later that the work that this testing platform did in testing the software and having it ready to go live saved the exchange weeks and thousands of dollars in costs compared to what they were doing before Time Machine.

The details of the case study can be found at this link, and there is more information available about the work that Time Machine does to make software testing more efficient and faster, thus lowering costs and creating a more streamlined and user-friendly operation for all those who use the software. After all, while testing is important and must be done thoroughly, it should not have to take weeks or months to complete.

The best software testing platforms are those that go above, around and through whatever barriers there might be within the infrastructure of the platform, and thus the software itself should be able to operate as efficiently as possible within that infrastructure. Time Machine can at least lower those barriers and allow software to be tested more quickly and with more accuracy, which in turn will help the entire platform run more smoothly and be more effective in its purpose. And if Time Machine could do this for a state Obamacare exchange, what might it do for your platform?