South Florida consumers reported a second consecutive day of technical problems on Wednesday that locked them out of the online health insurance exchange on HealthCare.gov that is key to the Affordable Care Act.
Wednesday marked day two of a six-month open enrollment period, during which eligible low- and middle-income consumers can sign up for subsidized health insurance through the federally run website.
But many who tried to take a look at the health plans were once again unable to get past the first step: creating an account necessary to verify subsidy eligibility, shop for plans and enroll for coverage. Others who said they were successful in creating accounts on Tuesday said they were unable to access their accounts again on Wednesday.
Officials with the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the federal agency administering online exchanges in the 34 states that elected not to create their own, said the problems were due to an overwhelming number of people trying to access the website at once, and that they are adding capacity and streamlining the process.
HealthCare.gov received more than 6.1 million unique visitors in the first 36 hours, according to federal officials.
Brian Cook, media relations director for CMS, issued a statement Wednesday saying some consumers had successfully enrolled through the federally run exchange and the 17 state-based exchanges on Tuesday but he did not say how many. He said the exchange call center received more than 190,000 calls and more than 104,000 web chats were requested.
“...While this overwhelming interest is continuing to cause wait times, there will be continuing improvements in the coming hours and days,’’ he said.