Washington (CNN) – A pool of Americans who attempt to obtain new health insurance through HealthCare.gov will never be able to complete their transaction online, even after the November 30 deadline for repairing the faulty website, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Monday.
That group – amounting to 20% of the site's users – could have health or financial situations too complex for the website to handle, and would need to instead enroll in the health exchanges over the phone or in person.
"It has always been the case that we need to make sure that there are other avenues for people, either with complex situations or people who would rather not perform this kind of purchase online," Carney said.
On Sunday, CNN reported the Obama administration was aiming for an 80% success rate on the beleaguered HealthCare.gov, which tech experts have been hurriedly attempting to repair after its disastrous launch October 1.
Carney explained the 20% of users unable to complete their enrollment online fell into three groups: those who are uncomfortable entering the necessary information to sign up, Americans with complex family or health situations, and those stymied by the site's technical problems.
"It was never going to be - even with an error-free, perfectly functioning website - that suddenly every American or potential purchaser of insurance in the marketplace would make that purchase online," Carney said. "And that's why there are call in centers, that's why there are in-person navigators to assist Americans who prefer to do it, if you will, the old fashioned way."
On Tuesday, a top administration tech official will testify before a House panel that the health website will be "greatly improved for the vast majority of users by November 30," a vow that President Obama and his deputies have made consistently over the past several weeks.
Henry Chao, the deputy chief information officer at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, will tell the House Energy and Commerce Committee Tuesday that adjustments have already improved the site's performance.
"This has increased performance across the site, but in particular the viewing and filtering of health plans during the online shopping process now responds in just seconds. It was taking minutes," Chao will say, according to prepared testimony posted online by the committee.
Chao will also detail an expanded cost estimation tool on HealthCare.gov that will provide a greater range of estimates than is currently available.
When the estimate tool launched more than a month ago, it only sorted users into two age categories, meaning the cost estimates had a broad range of error. The tools "functionality will be expanded to accommodate additional scenarios to better fit consumer shopping profiles," according to Chao's testimony.