Enrolling 48 million Americans in a health insurance plan within the next few months was bound to be tricky, but many of the health exchange marketplaces were not prepared for the crush of people that would hit the sites within moments of their unveiling.
Quite a few people have been left staring at error messages—sometimes after several attempts over the course of several hours.
“We have built a dynamic system and are prepared to make adjustments as needed and improve the consumer experience,” HHS said in a statement, adding: “Consumers who need help can also contact the call center, use the live chat function, or go to localhelp.healthcare.gov to find an in-person assistor in their community.”
Unfortunately, many uninsured/under-insured people have already exhausted those options as well, finding long waits at call centers, time-outs on live chats, and backed up health clinics. Because it's not just uninsured people looking to sign up, but people whose out-of-pocket insurance costs are so high that they don't seek medical care and are thus considered under-insured.
It would be great if we could get more information on what’s going on from the White House Web page, but OH YEAH, IT’S DOWN BECAUSE NO ONE’S THERE TO RUN IT. So those of us who look forward to daily Bo pics will soon begin experiencing withdrawals.
By 7 am this morning, one million people had already visited the federal website, Healthcare.gov. That’s five times more users on the Healthcare.gov site than have ever been on the Medicare.gov site at one time.
In New York, two million people visited the state’s online marketplace by midday. In California, the state marketplace website Coveredca.com was getting 10,000 hits per second Tuesday morning.
The California system has been slowed somewhat by the onslaught of visitors, but it’s handling the deluge better than some other states (it is the home of Silicon Valley, after all). Colorado and Oregon have had to limit to outright shut down online enrollment for the next few weeks until it can iron out all of the glitches. The Washington, D.C. and Maryland marketplaces have crashed completely.
In an address this afternoon, President Obama made the obvious association between the Affordable Care Act launch and the iOS 7 launch.
“Consider that just a couple of weeks ago, Apple rolled out a new mobile operating system, and within days, they found a glitch, so they fixed it,” the President said in the Rose Garden. “I don’t remember anybody suggesting Apple should stop selling iPhones or iPads or threatening to shut down the company if they didn’t. That’s not how we do things in America. We don’t actively root for failure.”