Federal and state officials moved Wednesday to strengthen the computer underpinnings of the new online health exchanges, which proved inadequate to handle a flood of consumer inquiries that began as soon as the system opened on Tuesday and continued into the next day (Perez-Pena, Goodnough and Pear, 10/2)
Overloaded websites and jammed phone lines frustrated consumers for a second day as they tried to sign up for health insurance under the nation’s historic health care overhaul. That was putting pressure on the federal government and the states that are running their own insurance exchanges to fix the problems amid strong demand for the private insurance plans (10/3).
The federal online marketplace selling newly available health insurance in 36 states continued to frustrate consumers Wednesday with delays and software failures, although some reported success in signing up (Hancock, Evans, Galewitz, Gold and Rao, 10/2).
Efforts to clear logjams in the federal health law's new online insurance marketplaces met with only modest success Wednesday, with strong traffic exacerbating waits and relatively few consumers able to enroll in policies during the system's second day. Blue Cross & Blue Shield of North Carolina, for one, said it was able to enroll only a single person in a subsidized health plan under the law by Wednesday afternoon (Martin, Weaver and Campo-Flores, 10/2).
Obama administration officials attributed the problems to high traffic at the federal website — healthcare.gov — which is the main portal for consumers in 36 states to select a health plan. Residents of the remaining 14 states, including California, Connecticut and Maryland, and the District of Columbia can use state-operated websites, many of which also continued to struggle to keep up with demand. Californians encountered computer problems and call-center hold times of more than 30 minutes. The Department of Health and Human Services reported Wednesday that there were 6.1 million unique visits to the federal website on the first day and a half after the site opened Tuesday (Levey, 10/2).
A high number of visitors to the new federal health insurance exchange site Wednesday caused the system to crash or cause prospective insurance customers to endure long waits. The Department of Health and Human Services has tried to limit the problems by changing how site visitors enter the site and reach details on how to shop for and buy insurance (Kennedy, 10/2).
The U.S. government on Wednesday scrambled to add computer capacity to handle an unexpectedly large number of Americans logging onto new online insurance marketplaces created under Present Barack Obama's healthcare reform law. Technical glitches and heavy traffic slowed Tuesday's launch of the marketplaces, particularly for the federal Healthcare.gov website serving 36 states (Morgan and Krauskopf, 10/2).
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