What does the healthcare.gov web site do?

Philip Greenspun's Weblog 2013-10-23

Folks:

The Obamacare exchange, healthcare.gov, web site has been in the news lately. It supposedly cost a lot of money to build and doesn’t work very well, but none of the news articles seem to explain what it does.

For example, does a consumer actually complete a transaction on the healthcare.gov web site? Or does the site simply allow a consumer to fill out a form that gets forwarded to an insurance company where coverage will be established?

And what did it cost to build? It seems safe to assume that it was more than the $25 million in funding that sufficed for Google’s expansion for the first six years. (Wikipedia) Was it more than the $327 million that California spent on their state exchange? (see this earlier posting)