March 31st, 2014
09:06 AM ET
7 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. Tony D

    SIX MONTHS LATER, this web site is a still a joke. This is the same incompetent government that wants to run your healthcare. That is a terrifying thought, to think peoples lives will be in the hands of this huge incompetent government bureaucracy. NO THANK YOU!! How about you prove you can keep the ROADS in decent shape before you start wanting control over OUR bodies?

    March 31, 2014 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  2. Donna

    3-4 years and nearly a billion dollars later and this site is still crashing??? And this farce of a web site is still no where near complete. What's it going to take? Another 3-4 years and another billion dollars? This web site is as big a disaster as the Obamacare law is.

    March 31, 2014 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  3. Tampa Tim

    To a wingnut, no website should be flawless? By 8 am, it was up and running again, thus "brief." If you think that the private insurance policies that people are signing up for is government run, you may be a republican.

    March 31, 2014 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  4. ken mertz

    AFTER you count the 5 1/2 million who lost their coverage re-signing up, that leave two new people,, Lenny and Mary from NJ.

    March 31, 2014 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  5. Tampa Tim

    Donna- what part of "briefly" did you not understand. Hell, the GOBaggers wasted $24 billion in 16 days with there government shutdown,so lighten up.

    March 31, 2014 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  6. Rudy NYC

    Donna

    3-4 years and nearly a billion dollars later and this site is still crashing??? And this farce of a web site is still no where near complete. What's it going to take? Another 3-4 years and another billion dollars? This web site is as big a disaster as the Obamacare law is.
    ---------------------–
    It's up to billion dollars now? Last year it was half a billion. Next fall it could be billionS, with a capital "S".

    Even if it were a billion dollars, that pales in cimparison to the dozen pallets of cash, containing billions of dollars in cash, that got lost at Baghdad Airport during the Iraq War. The money was supposed to have been used to buy the cooperation of various groups and tribes around the country. It never made it. So, they printed up billions more and handed that out.

    March 31, 2014 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  7. Tampa Tim

    Roger – sorry, their, not there.

    March 31, 2014 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  8. rs

    Ahhhh, the sweet smell of RWNJ desperation. The "web site is falling, the web site is falling" they cry.
    First, what do you care? You all swore to live by "freedom" by never buying from the ACA.
    Second, you do realize there is essentially one company who has created virtually every state and Medicare enrollment site, including the ACA?
    Finally, wow, the site was down for maintenance at 3am E.S.T. and was up later- like at times people might be using it.

    You people are clueless ninnies.

    No, what really frosts your cookies is that well more than 6 million people are enrolled and most of them are very happy.
    They might just remember that, and what the GOP proposed in place of the ACA (i.e.: nothing) in November.

    March 31, 2014 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  9. Tampa Tim

    Ken mertz – the republicans who said that 4.7 million people who received cancellation letters got 2 Pinocchios. Those letters put most of them in another plan, unless it was a junk policy.

    March 31, 2014 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  10. rs

    Rudy NYC
    Donna

    3-4 years and nearly a billion dollars later and this site is still crashing??? And this farce of a web site is still no where near complete. What's it going to take? Another 3-4 years and another billion dollars? This web site is as big a disaster as the Obamacare law is.
    -------–
    It's up to billion dollars now? Last year it was half a billion. Next fall it could be billionS, with a capital "S".

    Even if it were a billion dollars, that pales in cimparison to the dozen pallets of cash, containing billions of dollars in cash, that got lost at Baghdad Airport during the Iraq War. The money was supposed to have been used to buy the cooperation of various groups and tribes around the country. It never made it. So, they printed up billions more and handed that out.
    ____________________
    Never mind that! It is less than what the GOPpers in the U.S. House passed to throw away in Ukraine in "foreign aid"- that will ultimately wind up in Putin's pockets.
    That's the GOP way- flush away billions of dollars- but nuthin' for real Americans!

    March 31, 2014 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  11. Shills

    They just noticed this? I knew this when I first went on and again when I tried and tried again and again. Actually surprised how bad these businesses that ripped the American people off did on a website. They should be sued by Americans.

    March 31, 2014 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  12. Friends

    Democrats are Cancer to America. We must rid our country of this Cancer.

    March 31, 2014 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  13. RW0r1d

    It isn't crashing. It was programmed maintenance, appropriately scheduled to coincide with the final day so the "if you are already working on enrollment, you can get an extension" can be yet another fulfilled administration promise. What is commonly called a self fulfilling prophecy. Did you believe the final day would not have something happen to support the administration? Seriously?

    March 31, 2014 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  14. Gurgyl

    @Donna, people in USA are disaster, not This Law. While poorer nations are developing–USA is ranting, sold out to GOP greed, Republican nonsense for sheer selfishness, Greed, lack of education–shame on you. God bless. Why didn't republican pass Healthcare? They knew insurances denied, people overcharged, same test is done so many times in different Hospitals for greed. Very pathetic people. They need EDUCATION. True, God bless!!!!

    March 31, 2014 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  15. cooterpoo

    I can't get my Affordable healthcare!

    March 31, 2014 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  16. Dean

    I don't need health insurance. I don't want health insurance. Why do I have to pay a fine/tax? Next, the federal government will tell me that if I don't buy an electric car, I'll have to pay a fine.

    March 31, 2014 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  17. liberal disease

    deadlines, fines, no choices, delays, waivers, high prices, don't all sign up at once now!!

    March 31, 2014 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  18. Gunderson

    Well Shucks Here,
    Now why all you Conservatives expect everything to be perfect! Just because Sebilous and Obama said it would be why you believe them? Lessee. The Web Site will be ready on 1 October 2013. Nothing can go wrong. Just because they opened up Pandora's Box and ran right into Murphy's Law in no reason to gripe! Hey, suck it up, They are, again and again and again. You do have a good retirement plan, don't you? And remember, next election. All Republican's vote on Tuesday and all democrats vote on Wednesday. Now where will you get better information.

    March 31, 2014 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  19. Tampa Tim

    But Dean, what if you ride your scooter into a brick wall? Who will pay for your emergency room visit and your life time care?

    March 31, 2014 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  20. Eagle6421

    If this thing is so great shouldn't all of the 50 million uninsured be signing up in droves? If this thing is so great why is the approval rate of Obamacare continuing to fall? If this thing is so great why spend millions to advertise and get left wing celebrities to con people? Just wondering.......

    March 31, 2014 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  21. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    The sky is falling! The sky is falling!!
    In my best Chicken Little voice......

    March 31, 2014 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  22. derricktudor

    This website is so screwed up. If you CAN log in, you can't find anything. I tried three times. When I tried to save it and go back in, it lock up. I get a letter in the mail saying I didn't complete my enrollment. So I called the insurance company and they said I AM covered. I even made my first payment. The problem is going to be if and when the Republicans repeal this mess. Will you and I be responsible for ALL of the premium? What happens when you become responsible for a $2,000 premium instead of the $250 premium the government promised us?

    March 31, 2014 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  23. What's in that Tea Anyway?

    @Donna

    3-4 years and nearly a billion dollars later and this site is still crashing??? And this farce of a web site is still no where near complete. What's it going to take? Another 3-4 years and another billion dollars? This web site is as big a disaster as the Obamacare law is
    ------

    Well I, for one, am grateful we are NOT counting on either your expertise in internet design (IT) or understanding of what's best for this country. I think we got this ...LOL. Don't worry we'll get this worked out. Its really not that big of a challenge and this country has solved much bigger issues. For instance, you probably don't remember because they don't report things like "the last GOP administration nearly destroying this country" But the current administration brought this country back from a near 2nd depression, is getting us out of two of the longest wars in the history of this country and yes....Getting everyone access to good health insurance. Take your meds and go lay down, we'll let you know when its fixed. Don't bother checking at faux news. They don't report real news, just lies.

    March 31, 2014 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  24. Tampa Tim

    If ACA is so bad, why would the Kochs have to spend $800 million to tell people it's bad? Why would Fox have to trot out people to lie about ACA? Think about it.

    March 31, 2014 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  25. Eagle6421

    Wake Up. People, you have the wrong issue. You must be talking about global warming/cooling/climate change....whatever.

    March 31, 2014 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
1 2