Gov't: HealthCare website's high volume leads to technical probl - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Gov't: HealthCare website's high volume leads to technical problems

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WASHINGTON (AP) - In a flood of last-minute sign-ups, hundreds of thousands of Americans rushed to apply for health insurance Monday, but deadline day for President Barack Obama's overhaul brought long, frustrating waits and a new spate of website ills.

"This is like trying to find a parking spot at Wal-Mart on Dec. 23," said Jason Stevenson, working with a Utah nonprofit group helping people enroll.

At times, more than 125,000 people were simultaneously using HealthCare.gov, straining it beyond its capacity. For long stretches Monday, applicants were shuttled to a virtual waiting room where they could leave an email address and be contacted later.

Officials said the site had not crashed but was experiencing very heavy volume. The website, which was receiving 1.5 million visitors a day last week, had recorded about 1.6 million through 2 p.m. EDT.

Supporters of the health care law fanned out across the country in a final dash to sign up uninsured Americans. People not signed up for health insurance by the deadline, either through their jobs or on their own, were subject to being fined by the IRS, and that threat was helping drive the final dash.

The administration announced last week that people still in line by midnight would get extra time to enroll.

The website stumbled early in the day - out of service for nearly four hours as technicians patched a software bug. Another hiccup in early afternoon temporarily kept new applicants from signing up, and then things slowed further. Overwhelmed by computer problems when launched last fall, the system has been working much better in recent months, but independent testers say it still runs slowly.


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