Gov’t Health Exchange Website Plagued by Glitches and Crashes

health exchange

Many Americans eager to visit their state’s health exchange on the first day of the Affordable Care Act’s open enrollment were disappointed by a website suffering from glitches and crashes. While Tuesday may not have been the best start for the long-awaited health insurance marketplaces, supporters believe consumers will be more than pleased with their options once website kinks have been worked out.

Healthcare.gov Overwhelmed on First Day of Open Enrollment

October 1 marked the first day of open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act. While many American consumers were excited to browse health insurance marketplaces and find affordable plans, many were disappointed to learn they could not access some pages of the site.

Healthcare.gov, the federal government’s health exchange, serves as a marketplace for consumers residing in 34 states. Overwhelmed by the number of consumers interested in learning about their health insurance options, the website suffered a number of glitches and crashed repeatedly.

One issue consumers faced when attempting to explore the marketplaces was the requirement to sign up for an account. During the sign-up process, many consumers were only able to choose a username and password before being stopped at the requirement to choose security questions that were not available in drop-down boxes.

Some people took to Twitter to vent their frustrations:

@politicaljunkee wrote, “Just to be a sport, I have tried all day to ‘create an account’ at the health site. Stopped by security questions that will not populate.”

@IamJadehawk also faced challenges with the security questions. “dear http://healthcare.gov. empty spaces are not actually useful as security questions. Three empty spaces even less so.”

In an address given on Tuesday, President Barack Obama noted that the glitches and crashes are actually a good sign for the Affordable Care Act. He explained that by 7 a.m., more than a million people had visited the federal site.

“That gives you a sense of how important this is to millions of Americans around the country, and that’s a good thing,” he said.

Health Insurance Still Available Despite Government Shutdown

One concern some Americans had prior to yesterday’s open of health exchanges was how the government shutdown, which also took effect on October 1, would impact their ability to purchase health insurance.

Congress was responsible for passing a spending bill that would fund the government for the new fiscal year, but failed to do so after the House of Representatives added a measure in the bill to delay the Affordable Care Act by one year.

The Senate and president refused to consider a spending bill that included any changes to the health care reform law.

“One faction of one party in one house of Congress in one branch of government shut down major parts of the government all because they didn’t like one law,” Obama said. “They shut down the government over an ideological crusade to deny affordable health insurance to millions of Americans.”

The president went on to explain that the shutdown would not impact the Affordable Care Act, since funding for the law comes from new taxes and program cuts.

Further, he stated that many Americans will actually benefit from the law thanks to the elimination of pre-existing condition denials and the addition of federal subsidies that could significantly reduce the cost of coverage.