O-Care data hub to go dark for repairs

ObamaCare's federal data hub will undergo routine maintenance from Saturday night to Tuesday morning, temporarily preventing HealthCare.gov from verifying if users are eligible for premium tax credits.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) made the announcement Friday, saying the hub will be offline for work on its connection to the Internal Revenue Service.

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The disruption will not prevent users from otherwise completing applications for coverage on the federally run exchanges, CMS communications director Julie Bataille said.

HealthCare.gov is usually taken down for maintenance overnight and during the weekends. Federal health officials say the disconnections are necessary as they make a variety of improvements and changes to the site.

The data hub is one component of the system that the CMS has touted as working well. It helps to check applicants' personal data against federal databases as they move through the enrollment process.

The administration is struggling to fix HealthCare.gov before its self-imposed deadline of Nov. 30.

Former White House budget chief Jeff Zients, who was appointed to oversee the repair effort, said his team has reduced error rates on the site to 2 percent, down from 6 percent on Oct. 1.

"Where we are is not where we want to be," Zients said on a call with reporters. "We are making progress each week."

Zients also disclosed that he's working full-time on the effort and not receiving pay.