Glitches Hit Obamacare Site on Sign-Up Deadline

Technical glitches strike again as last-minute shoppers flood the site with traffic.

A woman looks at the insurance exchange internet site October 1, 2013 in Washington, DC. US President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare as it is commonly called, passed in March 2010, went into effect Tuesday at 8am EST. Heavy Internet traffic and system problems plagued the launch of the new health insurance exchanges Tuesday morning. Consumers attempting to log on were met with an error message early Tuesday due to an overload of Internet traffic. 
National Journal
Sam Baker
March 31, 2014, 9:47 a.m.

Tech­nic­al glitches took Health­ off­line for a while on Monday — the last day to sign up for cov­er­age through Obama­care’s ex­changes.

The site is now back up and run­ning, Health and Hu­man Ser­vices spokes­wo­man Joanne Peters said. Around noon, a tech­nic­al glitch pre­ven­ted users from cre­at­ing new ac­counts, and the sys­tems for ap­ply­ing and en­rolling in cov­er­age were also un­avail­able. The site was also off-line for part of Monday morn­ing.

Those is­sues have been re­solved, Peters said. The site is still queuing vis­it­ors, which is not a big sur­prise giv­en the surge in traffic ahead of Monday’s cov­er­age dead­line. HHS de­ploys the queuing sys­tem when the web­site is get­ting more traffic than it can handle at once. It asks users to either wait in line or enter their e-mail ad­dress to be no­ti­fied when they can come back

More than 100,000 people were us­ing the sys­tem sim­ul­tan­eously at noon, Peters said.

Health­ was flooded with traffic over the past few days as the dead­line to buy cov­er­age drew closer. The en­roll­ment win­dow ends at 11:59 p.m. Monday, but HHS has said people who were “in line” by the dead­line will have ex­tra time to fin­ish their ap­plic­a­tions if they run in­to tech­nic­al prob­lems.

Pres­id­ent Obama and a small army of sur­rog­ates, in­clud­ing ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials and dozens of celebrit­ies, have been ag­gress­ively pro­mot­ing en­roll­ment ahead of Monday’s dead­line, ur­ging un­in­sured con­sumers to vis­it Health­ and com­pare their op­tions.

More than 6 mil­lion people have already se­lec­ted private plans through the law’s mar­ket­places.

Health­ — the primary en­roll­ment web­site — ex­per­i­enced severe tech­nic­al prob­lems when it launched in Oc­to­ber and was largely un­us­able for nearly two months. It had been func­tion­ing re­l­at­ively smoothly since then.

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