On the final day (sort of) of individual enrollment on the federal exchange the Affordable Care Act's website was "down for maintenance" for about six hours Monday morning.
Officials said the site was taken offline around 3:20 a.m., and returned to full functionality at 9 a.m.
The downtime, Health and Human Services officials said, was to deal with a software bug that surfaced during nightly routine maintenance. Visitors who attempted to use the site were asked to submit their email address so they could be notified when the site was back online.
Update, 2:00 p.m.
For around a half an hour Monday afternoon, a second glitch hit the site, causing it to reject new applications.
According to Health and Human Services officials, the glitch only affected users creating new accounts, not those who had already created a login but were still in the enrollment process.
"There are a record number of people trying to access HealthCare.gov right now -- more than 100,000 people concurrently in the system as of noon," a statement from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said. "The tech team monitoring HealthCare.gov in real time has identified an issue with users creating new accounts. The application and enrollment tools are unavailable to new users at the moment. The tech team is working to resolve the issue as quickly as possible."
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Some 2 million people reportedly visited Healthcare.gov over the weekend, as the Obama administration made a final push to boost enrollment numbers. The White House announced last week enrollment had hit 6 million people, an impressive recovery after the exchange's disastrous rollout in October, although it's still unclear how many of those enrollees have actually paid their first month's premiums or how many of the enrollees were previously uninsured.
That number does not include those who signed up for insurance through the law's Medicaid expansion.
Monday morning's glitch may end up being just a small stumble if the exchange's momentum carries through and hits, or comes close, to the administration's original projection of 7 million sign ups. And while the official deadline is 11:59 p.m. Monday night, the White House said last week it would soften the cutoff to allow those who begin their enrollments by Monday to continue the process through mid-April.
Republicans, apparently unchastened by the better-than-expected enrollment figures, jeered the finish-line stumble, even as supporters pushed out reminders to sign up for coverage.
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