ObamaCare wait times cut by one-third, HHS says

"Experts are working around the clock and were able to expand system capacity somewhat overnight, cutting by one-third the volume of people waiting to apply," she said.

Early problems with the website prevented users from creating an account, which is required even to compare policies, much less enroll.

HHS has said the problem was a result of overwhelming traffic to the website — not a programming error. The 7 million visits the site has logged in the past 24 hours are more than Southwest Airlines receives in a month, HHS said.

The department said added capacity has reduced the number of people waiting online to apply. Waiting times to enroll by phone have been cut in half.

In addition to the 7 million Web hits, HHS has logged 167,000 requests for Web chats, and HHS's enrollment call centers have gotten nearly 300,000 calls since Tuesday.