A week since healthcare marketplaces opened, technical problems remain
WASHINGTON — Frustration over enrolling for health insurance through the government’s online marketplaces is growing. It’s been nearly a full week, and technical problems remain.
The problems began as soon as healthcare.gov went live a week ago.
By last Friday, there’d been nearly nine million visits to the website.
The administration said demand for Obamacare was five times higher than what was expected and crashed the system.
“It seems that Obamacare is off to a very rocky start,” said Wyoming Republican Senator John Barrasso.
A major glitch appeared during the registration process as the site tried to confirm identities of those enrolling.
Over the weekend, technicians took down the site briefly to repair software and increase capacity.
They set up what’s being called an “online waiting room” which lets users in at a slower pace in hopes the system doesn’t get overwhelmed.
“We have reduced waiting room times by about a third and are increasingly moving more users through the system,” said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.
Health reform supporters had to acknowledge the problems.
“Yes, we should have been better prepared. But it does not negate the fact that the plan itself is going to work,” said democratic Congresswoman Marcia Fudge of Ohio.
There’s no official word yet on how many people have been able to get through and actually bought insurance on the marketplace.
Estimates range from the hundreds to low thousands.
The administration hopes to get seven million people signed up.
Enrollment continues through the end of March.
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