HealthCare.gov experiences minor glitches

 

HealthCare.gov — the ObamaCare federal insurance marketplace that failed to properly launch last year — opened for its second enrollment period Saturday with only minor glitches.

In the first eight hours after it opened, roughly 23,000 people nationwide successfully submitted applications to enroll or re-enroll in health insurance plans, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia BurwellSylvia Mathews BurwellPrice was a disaster for HHS — Time for an administrator, not an ideologue Overnight Healthcare: GOP chairman to introduce pre-existing condition bill ObamaCare enrollment hits 11.5M for 2017 MORE said while visiting a center in Virginia where workers were helping people sign up for insurance.

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There were, however, some minor technical issues with the website. USA Today reported that some users had trouble logging into the website right after enrollment began, and others experienced small glitches. Before the website opened for enrollments, it was incorrectly calculating subsidies for users in Alaska.

Officials behind the website said that although they worked hard to build a system that could meet demand this year, glitches would inevitably appear.

“We will have things that won't go right. We will have outages, we will have downtime,” Burwell said at an event this week.

Officials also opened up the website a week early to allow consumers to evaluate possible plans that were available to them.

At the Virginia event, Burwell said that since last Sunday, 1.2 million looked at plans they would be able to purchase starting Saturday.

Administrators behind the website and workers in the field are faced with signing up new consumers for plans — millions were eligible last year but did not sign up — and with helping people renew plans they bought through the site or state exchanges last year.

Any snags this time around did not rival the sweeping flaws that crippled the website when it launched a little over a year ago and called into question whether the government was capable of implementing the Obama administration’s signature policy initiative.

At the start of last year’s enrollment period, Americans looking to buy insurance through the website or many of the similar websites operated by states encountered technical problems that made it extremely difficult or impossible to buy insurance.

On HealthCare.gov, for instance, only six users were able to sign up for insurance on the first day of enrollment.

The botched rollout embarrassed the White House and cost then-HHS Secretary Kathleen SebeliusKathleen SebeliusJohn Roberts has tough job of keeping faith in Supreme Court Price was a disaster for HHS — Time for an administrator, not an ideologue Trump says he's unhappy with Price MORE her job.

The administration brought on a team of engineers — some culled from top firms in Silicon Valley — to quickly repair the site’s infrastructure. They also extended the enrollment period for people who had tried to sign up before the original deadline.