Health care website stumbles on last day


Associated Press

The Obama administration says a new technical problem briefly prevented last-minute users from signing up on the government's health insurance website. The new problem comes as traffic is surging on deadline day.

Health and Human Services spokesman Aaron Albright says technicians identified an issue affecting consumers trying to create new accounts.

As a result, new users couldn't access the system, but the problem was later resolved.

Albright said more than 100,000 people are using the system at the same time.

At Borinquen Medical Centers in Miami, enrollment counselors arrived on Monday morning to find consumers already waiting in line to sign up for health insurance, said Jason Conner, who manages a team of counselors for the health center.

A last-minute rush of consumers across the country may have contributed to problems with, the federally-run website that serves Florida and 35 other states.

The site was down for extended maintenance that last until 9 a.m., according to the online news outlet, POLITICO, which reported that Department of Health and Human Services officials said the problem was a software bug discovered overnight.

But the website encountered additional problems, and by early afternoon consumers at Borinquen were forced to wait while stalled.

Conner said Borinquen counselors kept extended hours on Saturday and opened for business on Sunday, “which we’ve never done before.” They received an overwhelming response.

“We had about 200 folks come through over the weekend,’’ Conner said. “Usually we have about 30 folks who come in on a Saturday.’’

Borinquen counselors will provide assistance until 7 p.m. Monday, Conner said, giving consumers an additional two hours to sign up before the deadline.

Miami Herald staff writer Daniel Chang contributed to this report

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