Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Washington's health exchange is off to a bumpy start

Posted By on Wed, Oct 2, 2013 at 11:17 AM

Technical difficulties forced state officials to take down Washington's online health insurance marketplace shortly after it went live yesterday. Now, the Associated Press is reporting that users are still experiencing glitches.

On the first day of open enrollment, users reported difficulties loading and completing their enrollment applications. The site was down for about six or seven hours yesterday afternoon and again last night as IT continued investigating and fixing the issues. 

According to Richard Onizuka, CEO for the Washington Health Benefit Exchange, "unexpected user activity and interaction with the marketplace" caused some of yesterday's hiccups despite "extensive testing leading up to the launch."

"Today we will continue to analyze this behavior and refine our system to better meet the needs of our customers," Onizuka said in a statement. "And while some users may still experience brief interruptions or difficulty browsing for plans, we are continuing to monitor the system throughout the day and make any additional improvements as needed."

Of course, if you're hoping to purchase insurance through the exchange, you still have six months to enroll. In addition to the website, you can sign up for insurance by calling the exchange's customer support center at 1-855-923-4633 or in person at one of several nonprofit organizations in the area, like NATIVE Health, Volunteers of America, YWCA and Christ Clinic. Coverage under the new plans starts as early as January 2014. 

Still have questions about Obamacare? Read our explainer here.  

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About The Author

Deanna Pan

Deanna Pan is a staff writer at the Inlander, where she covers social justice, state politics and health care. In her cover stories, she's written about mass shooting survivors, NGRI patients and honey bees...