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Glitches mark Obamacare marketplace opening

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Glitches showed up as expected in this morning's launch of the new Obamacare health insurance marketplaces.

The federal government will be facilitating the individual marketplaces in 36 states, including Pennsylvania, through healthcare.gov. The remaining states are running their own marketplaces or operating them in partnership with the feds.

My multiple efforts to log on to Healthcare.gov this morning with a previously registered profile were all unsuccessful. At various times the site required a waiting period before loading the sign-in page, citing high traffic. From the sign-in page, it displayed a variety of error messages, including this one: “Health Insurance Marketplace: Please wait. We have a lot of visitors on our site right now and we’re working to make your experience here better. Please try to login after sometime. Thanks for your patience!”

The site’s Twitter account, @HealthCareGov, posted these messages mid-morning:

“Thanks for all your comments and updates as you enroll. We apologize that wait times on the site and hotline are longer than expected!”

“We’re working to fix these issues as soon as possible. Thanks for your patience”

According to a Reuters report, the federally run exchange began posting error messages for at least 25 of the 36 states soon after the system opened for enrollment at 8 a.m. EDT, citing online traffic as a reason for the difficulties.

David Simas, the White House deputy senior adviser for communications and strategy, posted this shortly before noon: “Huge day one traffic to http://HealthCare.gov. 1 million so far. For the first time, people can compare & choose plans w/out being denied.”

In New York, the following message was posted on the marketplace website: “Due to overwhelming interest in the NY State of Health -- including 2 million visits in the first 2 hours of the site launch -- the health exchange is currently having log in issues. We encourage users who are unable to log in to come back to the site later when these issues will be resolved.”

Maryland, which is running its own exchange, was scheduled to open at 8 a.m. but shortly after that time posted a message citing connectivity issues and asking visitors to return at noon.

Heather Stauffer

Heather Stauffer

Heather Stauffer covers Lancaster County, nonprofits, education and health care. Have a tip or question for her? Email her at heathers@cpbj.com. Follow her on Twitter, @StaufferCPBJ.

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