ObamaCare Site's Re-Launch Stumbles Out of the Gate

1/3 of all enrollments reportedly screwed up

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 3, 2013 7:58 AM CST | Updated Dec 3, 2013 7:59 AM CST

(Newser) – The new and supposedly improved HealthCare.gov isn't off to a great start. The site flooded with traffic yesterday morning, slowing it to a crawl and spiking its error rate, the LA Times reports. By 10am the government had turned on a "queuing" feature, essentially putting would-be applicants on hold. At that point about 35,000 people were on the site—less than its promised capacity of 50,000. Later in the day the administration said that performance had improved, and that 750,000 had used the site by 5:30pm.

But here's the rub: Many of those people might not actually be insured. Insurers began sounding the alarm yesterday, because errors are still plaguing the back end of the site where people actually buy coverage. Many may not actually be enrolled, NBC News reports. The administration says it's urging people to make sure they've submitted a payment, and to check with their insurer.

  • It's an ongoing problem; roughly a third of enrollment attempts since Oct. 1 have been plagued with errors, meaning those people might not have the coverage they expect, sources tell the Washington Post. The administration disputed that number, but wouldn't provide one of its own.
  • "Health insurers are still seeing enrollments that are duplicated, missing information, things like that," the head of an industry group says. The administration met with insurance industry leaders yesterday in an attempt to clear up the problems with the forms, called "834s."
  • Many consumers, meanwhile, were frustrated. The queuing system let users put in their email address, saying they'd be notified when they could sign on. But the Post talked to one woman who, upon getting the email, found she still couldn't log on.
  • Some users took to Twitter, and posted screenshots of their error messages; you can see examples on Twitchy. "I have been trying for two days and still can't get this system to do anything but make me redo it," one user wrote. "This doesn't work FAIL!"

This Nov. 29, 2013 file photo shows part of the HealthCare.gov website, photographed in Washington.
This Nov. 29, 2013 file photo shows part of the HealthCare.gov website, photographed in Washington.   (AP Photo/Jon Elswick)
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