March 31st, 2014
09:06 AM ET
4 months ago

Website issues on Obamacare enrollment deadline day

Washington (CNN) – It was a brief but fleeting reminder of the messy rollout of the Obamacare website. In the early morning hours of the final day of open enrollment, the government's health care website experienced technical problems as troubleshooters worked on a "software bug," a senior administration official said.

"System isn't available at the moment. We're currently performing maintenance," the message on HealthCare.gov said.

A senior administration official said the issue was unrelated to the high demand the White House expected on this deadline day.

HealthCare.gov "continues to handle unprecedented consumer demand well. Tech team is fixing a software bug as part of the regular nightly maintenance window that takes place on the site during off peak hours," a senior administration official said.

By 8 a.m. in Washington, the site appeared to be back up and running but experiencing delays due to the expected crush of last minute health care consumers.

"We need you to wait here, so we can make sure there's room for you to have a good experience on our site," the website said.

"They bring the site back up gradually so some people get through at first and some people do not. We are in the process now of gradually bringing the site back up," a senior administration official said Monday morning.

Minutes later, the site assisting enrollment on the federal exchange appeared to be functioning properly.

Over at the White House website, it was another story. The open enrollment countdown clock on the White House site mistakenly said consumers had "16 days, 29 hours" to sign up. That glitch appeared to be an inadvertent shifting of the hours and minutes into the wrong columns.

White House feeling optimistic on numbers

Despite the early deadline day hiccups, White House officials are pleased with the latest enrollment numbers. More than 6 million people have signed up for private insurance coverage as of late last week and HealthCare.gov received more than two million visitors over the weekend, according to the White House.

Without revealing new enrollment numbers, mainly because they are waiting on state numbers to come in, senior White House officials are sounding optimistic about the final day of enrollment in Obamacare.

"We feel really good," a senior White House official said.

With well over 1 million people flooding HealthCare.gov and hundreds of thousands more phoning into call centers, the official said the late surge is "crushing" expectations.

The official also said the White House is also feeling positive about the percentage of young adults enrolling – a key demographic to keeping costs healthcare costs down.

The final push means the Affordable Care Act could reach that coveted 7 million enrollment target originally projected by the CBO and embraced by administration officials.

Acknowledging that not all Americans going on line and calling in are signing up, the official noted one indicator - people phoning call centers are staying on the line longer.

Consumers who attempt to sign up on the final day of enrollment but experience technical problems will be given a few additional days to complete the process, administration official said.

The Vice President's pitch

Vice President Joe Biden emphasized that extension during a taped appearance on Rachael Ray’s syndicated talk show that aired nationwide on Monday.

“Anybody who’s in line now, anybody’s who’s on the web, in person being interviewed and or on the telephone, they are able to – even if the deadline closes – to stay in line,” Biden said. “They can get into the system. It’s a little bit like people when the polls close at eight, and there’s a hundred people waiting, they get to vote.”

After the law’s rocky roll out gave opponents so much to criticize, the Vice President also emphasized his belief that “people are going to be really, really surprised how well this has turned out.”

But in a possible attempt to stem off more bad publicity if customers run into roadblocks on the last day of open enrollment, both Ray and Biden urged viewers to “get in the queue.”

“Go to healthcare.gov, you can sign up today, get on that line and get your extension,” Ray said.

CNN White House Producer Adam Aigner-Treworgy contributed to this story


Filed under: Health care • Obamacare
soundoff (49 Responses)
  1. Nick

    Won't matter, I'm sure Obama and his minions will come up with yet another extension or waiver or whatever. These guys better pray they don't have to work in the private sector when this is all said and done, nobody in their right mind would hire them – they're untrustworthy to say the least.

    March 31, 2014 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  2. Steve Miller

    No Disqus allowed here – also keeping the deadline off the front page headline was pretty sneaky liberal move on CNN's part.

    March 31, 2014 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  3. ioutbidu

    Just give it one more chance and a few more months...

    March 31, 2014 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  4. Eagle6421

    Tampa Tim, could it be because the 69% of the people who disapprove are right and you and the other drones in the minority are wrong?

    March 31, 2014 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  5. keepitreal

    Just being "covered" is not the win here. $6,000 to $9,000.00 deductibles?????

    What a Joke!!!!

    March 31, 2014 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  6. Lizzie

    President Obama made 38 changes to the law, which we been told cannot be changed, with a stroke of his pen.

    March 31, 2014 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  7. Leaches

    People signing up for ACA are leaches. They leach off of people (like me) that DO work for a living and have private insurance. We're paying higher taxes to support these people and quite frankly, I'm SICK of it! Of COURSE the people who sign up for it are all happy. WE ARE PAYING FOR IT! UGHHHH!!!

    March 31, 2014 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  8. db

    You actually have a 90 day grace period even after the deadline.

    March 31, 2014 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  9. What's in that Tea Anyway?

    @Nick

    Won't matter, I'm sure Obama and his minions will come up with yet another extension or waiver or whatever. These guys better pray they don't have to work in the private sector when this is all said and done, nobody in their right mind would hire them – they're untrustworthy to say the least

    ------

    routing for failure huh? You faux news watchers are just so upset huh? too bad, so said. Listen, can you remember the last time a "GOP/Republican administration held office and said that the Iraq war would take only 2 weeks and would pay for itself? I'd beat you believed that....right? Well this administration said "Heathcare reform" would be difficult and it has been but its getting down. So keep complaining, soon it will be just like Medicare...then you'll have to find something else to complain about.

    March 31, 2014 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  10. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    They're blowing gaskets around here today!!! I love it!!! Wah Wah whiners!!!

    Even with billionaires spending millions, they still failed.....
    The Foxbots are out in droves this morning!!!

    March 31, 2014 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  11. Theendisnear

    In a free world no one should be forced to do anything. I don't work for the government they work for me!!

    March 31, 2014 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  12. Tampa Tim

    Eagle- I just checked and your numbers are not correct . 39% approve of ACA the way it is, 15% say it did not go far enough, so I doubt they want it repealed. 69% disapproval seems to be a made up number. By the way congress approval is now at 12.5% approval! Rassmussen has Obama's approval at 49%.

    March 31, 2014 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  13. JJR

    circus music and background laughter.........................

    March 31, 2014 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  14. Tampa Tim

    Lizzie – 38 changes? You should fact check, as that is not true, but it does anger Fox viewers too lazy to find the truth.

    March 31, 2014 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  15. Mimi

    Somebody stole my insurance! I had decent family coverage for $400/mo but it doesn't meet Obama's minimum qualifications so my plan will go away. If I sign up for Obamacare, my coverage is terrible for the same $400/mo. To get my old coverage, I have to pay $1200/mo now. So my choices are decrease my coverage & pay the same or keep my coverage & pay triple. Thanks for the reform Obama! Help the uninsured at the total expense of the insured, nice plan libtard king.

    March 31, 2014 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  16. What a load of Divas

    System unavailable for maintenance on the [YET ANOTHER] "deadline extension"

    Friday last week System manager said "We don't know HOW many have enrolled ...........4 days later Obama was able to announce the number of 6 MILLION?

    This is a mad as Obama's red lines in Syria! WHAT A CROCK!

    March 31, 2014 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  17. Henry

    I just can't understand why anyone could feel good about being told you must purchase something.

    March 31, 2014 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  18. the 15 crazy girl

    dont do it

    March 31, 2014 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  19. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    At my job some of the policies changed but for the better. For the first time more was covered and the increase was $3 weekly. Typically, my rates go up and coverage decreases. Not this time!! Thanks President Obama!!

    March 31, 2014 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  20. Sick of it

    People signing up for ACA are leaches. They leach off of people (like me) that DO work for a living and have private insurance. We're paying higher taxes to support these people and quite frankly, I'm SICK of it! Of COURSE the people who sign up for it are all happy. WE ARE PAYING FOR IT! UGHHHH!!!
    ----

    Good to know that after the 55 hours I put in last week I'm just a "leech" because I got my health insurance through the exchange. That's really how you people see the world, isn't it?

    Obamacare is for people WHO WORK.

    March 31, 2014 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  21. baser13

    I would look to see if there is any undue traffic quantumly traveling the wire, it would take up bandwidth and make it seem as it is real traffic but it's more of a masked DoS attack. Cheers and we are almost at the 7 million mark, many have asked their Representatives and Senators that are Republican, "What is the alternative you want to implement since you have publicly voiced concern that defaulting back to the original system was not the solution, and that repealing ACA was just so you could replace it with something 'better'.", and they have not liked the silence they received as response.
    Face it if Republicans let voters know before Midterm Elections any definitive details about their proposals most would be turned off politically almost instantly, fortunately for Republicans their fanboys are unaware of end goals. If you dislike ACA, you will have stronger feelings against their proposal, just go ahead and ask today.

    March 31, 2014 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  22. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Well Henry how do you feel about auto insurance??? I hate that too and in MI we have some of the highest rates in the country.

    March 31, 2014 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  23. chris

    Since obama are passed my premiums have increased steadily to the point where I'm paying double for the same coverage. They said the start of the new year you cannot change your current policy unless u sign up for a new obamacare plan. Fast forward. Start of 2014. I get a letter. Your premiums have increased another 21%. !!!!! I check on new obamacare plans. Same bloated price, way less coverage and higher deductibles. Good job guys. Now I'm required to buy a product that steadily increases in price every year under penalty of law. You people supporting this law are misinformed or probably receiving healthcare from your employer. Just wait until the employer mandate kicks in and you will feel the pain and realise why this law is bad for all of us. More waste and another middleman that has no idea how to run a business except into the ground. See: post office, social security, Medicaid, medicare, fanny Mae, Freddy mac, and the fact they are all exempt from this wonderfully law.

    March 31, 2014 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  24. Natrldiver

    For a program that went into law a long time ago, it sure has had its problems getting off the ground. At what point does the administration decide to hit the reset button? How much more money is going to be wasted and how many more delays are we going to suffer? Apparently the voting populace has already forgotten that the employer mandate has already been conveniently pushed back past the mid-term elections. Coincidence? I think not. More like the Democrats are trying to salvage a sinking ship.

    March 31, 2014 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
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