Glitches Plague Marketplace Website After Launch

BY LUIS GRONDA
Staff Writer

Since its launch on Oct. 1, the HealthCare Marketplace website has run into a variety of problems, preventing some people from signing up for the healthcare they need.

New plans under the Affordable Care Act allowed residents to sign up for the healthcare marketplace online and get them on their way towards enrolling in the healthcare plan before the Jan. 1 deadline. The marketplace was established after the 2010 Affordable Care Act passed, allowing people to apply for healthcare if they are not covered by their employer or through other programs such as Medicaid or Medicare.

As people logged onto the HealthCare Marketplace website, they experienced problems, including long delays while registering for healthcare.

As people logged onto the HealthCare Marketplace website, they experienced problems, including long delays while registering for healthcare.

But the website, HealthCare.gov, has had several glitches since it first launched, including a server overload that has timed out the website in the middle of registration and long delays when registering on the website.

A spokesperson for the State Department of Health said the high volume of traffic on the site was the primary reason for the delays, as many people were accessing the website at the same time, overloading their servers.

The spokesperson noted the website has improved since its initial launch, as they boosted its server capacity and fixed other technology associated with running the webpage.

“Each day since its launch on Oct. 1, the online NY State of Health marketplace has been enhanced to provide better and smoother access for thousands of individuals and small business owners across New York to select quality, low-cost health insurance plans,” said Donna Frescatore, the Executive Director of New York State of Health Dept., in a statement a few days after problems about the website were reported. “The State’s customer service center operators have provided information to and answered questions from nearly 10,500 New Yorkers. We are continuing to work to improve the site’s access and navigation to handle the heavy traffic we have seen and allow New Yorkers to easily get low-cost health insurance plans.”

The federal Dept. of Health also responded to reports of problems with the website, saying they have seen strong interest in the marketplace website and they have greatly reduced many of the problems that plagued the site after it launched.

“We won’t stop improving HealthCare.gov until its doors are wide open, and at the end of the six-month open enrollment, millions of Americans gain affordable coverage,” said Fabian Levy, a U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services spokesperson.

According to the U.S. Dept. of Health, interest in the website continues to remain high, with the site receiving 14.6 million unique visits in the first 10 days after it launched.

New tools have been introduced to streamline the process of signing up for Obamacare as well, including allowing people to sign up over the phone if they want to use that method instead of logging online. Residents are also able to see how much they will likely pay for their healthcare plan based on their situation and which state they live in.

Reach Luis Gronda at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 127, lgronda@queenstribune.com, or @luisgronda.