Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
HealthCare.gov stumbles as consumers swarm to get health coverage on last day
First Published Mar 31 2014 08:09 pm • Last Updated Mar 31 2014 08:56 pm

The first six-month window for Americans to gain health insurance under the Affordable Care Act closed on Monday with large numbers of consumers speeding to get coverage at the last minute. Some of them encountered obstacles as HealthCare.gov, the main enrollment website, stumbled on and off throughout the day.

Union halls, shopping-mall kiosks and insurance company lobbies across the country were jammed with people racing to get insurance on the final day before the law required most Americans to choose health insurance or risk a financial penalty.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

By the time President Barack Obama appeared Monday evening on "CBS Evening News," he sounded relieved. "We admittedly had just a terrible start because the website wasn’t working," Obama said, referring to the site’s rocky beginnings. "But given how gloomy I think everybody’s assessment was back in the middle of November, I’d say that we’re on our way to making sure that no American ever has to go without health care."

Health officials said that, by 4 p.m., 840,000 people had phoned in to a network of call centers across the country — about 300,000 more than the total for any other day since the federal insurance marketplace and 14 similar state ones opened on Oct. 1.

The outpouring of last-minute interest reinforced arguments by the Obama administration and its allies, made since the law was enacted four years ago, that it would become popular once Americans had a chance to get the new health plans that it spawned — and, in most cases, with federal subsidies to help pay for them.

Still, as the deadline arrived, fresh evidence emerged that the law, which has set in motion the broadest changes to the U.S. health-care system in nearly half a century, remains mired in a wide partisan divide. A new Washington Post poll indicates that three in four Democrats support the law — a rise of 11 percentage points since January — compared with one in five Republicans.

On the last day of sign-ups, HealthCare.gov was inaccessible to new customers — and early on, to anyone at all. Instead of opening at 5 a.m. as scheduled after a routine maintenance period, the website remained closed until after 8 a.m. because of a software problem. Then, starting shortly after noon Monday, visitors to the website were greeted with a screen saying, "We need you to wait here, so we can make sure there’s room for you to have a good experience on our site." The screen invited users to leave email addresses so they could be contacted when the volume lessened, although it was unclear whether that would be later Monday or after the official deadline.




Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.