The paper reported that there had been no full test of the site's front end as late as Sept. 26 and that health insurance executives hoped for a delayed or partial rollout.
"We discussed … is there a way to do a pilot — by state, by geographic region?" one executive said.
The details underscore the failures of federal health officials to build a functioning system by the start of the six-month enrollment period.
The Obama administration is now in triage mode trying to repair the site's problems and build users' confidence at the same time.
The Affordable Care Act was built on the premise that millions of people would successfully enroll in the marketplaces, balancing out risk and keeping premiums stable.