HHS tackles health exchange overload


When the health insurance exchanges went live last week, HealthCare.gov saw roughly five times more users than the website's capacity, the Obama administration's chief technology officer told USA Today.

The website was built to handle 50,000 to 60,000 simultaneous users but has attracted up to 250,000 simultaneous users since it launched Oct. 1. On just the first day of open enrollment, about 4.7 million people visited the federal website.

"These bugs were functions of volume,'' U.S. Chief Technology Officer Todd Park told USA Today. "Take away the volume and it works," he added.

The high volume of users overwhelmed software on HealthCare.gov that allows people to create accounts while the section of the website that broadly explains the Affordable Care Act and available coverage options remained operational, according to the article.

A few weeks before open enrollment began, Park said the controversial health insurance data hub was finally ready for operation, FierceHealthIT previously reported.

Unhappy with the performance of HealthCare.gov so far, Park said the administration is working 24-7 to fix the technological glitches that prevented many consumers from enrolling or creating online accounts.

In fact, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services will take down the website each night at 1 a.m. EDT for a few hours to make repairs, the Associated Press reported. Site upgrades will include increased user capacity, more technicians working 24-7 to debug problems and new, faster application pathways, according to HHS.

For Republicans, the HealthCare.gov website glitches serve as more proof to get rid of the Affordable Care Act, while Democrats point to the technical difficulties as signs of massive consumer interest in getting coverage through the online marketplaces, the AP noted.

For more:
- here's the USA Today article
- read the AP article

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