Obamacare enrollment surges on deadline, delays access to insurance website

Windsor Genova – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Washington, DC, United States (4E) – A surge of last minute sign-ups to the federal website of the health insurance exchange on Monday caused heavy user traffic that slowed down access to HealthCare.gov while technical glitches resurfaced preventing online enrollment to an insurance plan.

A technical glitch made the website inaccessible on opening time at 5 a.m. Monday.

Consumers trying to beat the March 31 deadline to buy a plan without getting fined $95 next year for late enrollment had to wait in a virtual waiting room on Healthcare.gov starting noon. A federal health official who spoke on condition of anonymity blamed the onrush of traffic to the slowdown as 109,000 people visited the site, which can handle only 100,000 users at a time.

Access was intermittent after 1:30 p.m. and some consumers were unable to start the initial step of creating an account, according to Aaron Albright, a spokesman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the agency overseeing the insurance exchange.

Users trying to create accounts for the first time also were unable to access application and enrollment tools.

Meanwhile, the White House spokesman Jay Carney said Obamacare surpassed the Congressional Budget Office’s projection” of 6 million enrollments by March 31. With a record 2.9 million visitors to the website over the weekend, the administration is nearing the goal of signing up 7 million.

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