Washington (CNN) - The federal website where Americans can sign up for new health insurance saw a rush of traffic ahead of this week’s deadline to secure coverage by next year, an Obama administration official said on Friday.
Julie Bataille, communications director for the agency directing the website, said 880,000 people visited HealthCare.gov on Christmas Eve – which was the last day Americans could go online to select plans beginning January 1.
The website – which failed upon its initial launch in October and underwent a massive repair job in November – “met the mark and did exactly what it was supposed to do,” Bataille wrote in a blog on the Health and Human Services department website.
Previously, the administration said that more than a million visitors came to the website on Monday. The wave of clicks prompted the site’s “queuing function” to kick in, meaning users who couldn’t log on were given the option of leaving an e-mail address and returning later. Bataille said Friday that 129,000 people took advantage of the feature.
Initially set for December 15, the deadline for enrolling in coverage was pushed back to December 23 earlier this fall. Earlier this week, that deadline was moved back a day to accommodate individuals looking for insurance but facing long wait times.
And the administration later said it was offering a “special enrollment period” for people who tried to enroll in plans by the deadline but were unable to.
Since the website failure in October, enrollment in the exchanges created under the Affordable Care Act has lagged behind what the White House expected, though officials contend they were always anticipating a surge in sign-ups close to the deadline.
While the administration is touting the surge in traffic, officials are not expecting to release enrollment data for December until the middle of next month.
Last week, officials said they expected enrollment to drop off in January, with no looming deadline to encourage sign-ups, with another spike coming in March, before the date at which Americans must obtain coverage before incurring a fine.