Covered California shut down its online enrollment system Saturday night through early Monday morning for what it described as “regular maintenance.” Last week, the state took enrollment offline two other times to address problems consumers had with repeated error messages and general slowness on the site. Some people said they were finally able to create an account on the website after numerous attempts, but they still couldn’t log in and complete the sign-up process for coverage under the federal Affordable Care Act. Officials attributed the initial problems primarily to a larger-than-expected response during the first week of enrollment.
Enrollment in the exchange lasts until March 31, 2014, although you must pick a plan by Dec. 15, 2013 to have coverage starting Jan. 1, 2014. “We continue to make improvements and address issues as they arise,” said Covered California spokeswoman Anne Gonzales. “The pages were loading more easily and quickly as of late last week.” California allows consumers to get price quotes and compare health plans anonymously without first creating a personal account. That requirement on other state websites appeared to create extensive problems. California plans to launch an online tool that allows people to search for specific doctors and hospitals by health plan before choosing an insurer. That feature was delayed last week as state officials addressed the enrollment issues. “Covered California had an enormous challenge to develop an IT system to manage such a large program,” said Patrick Johnston, president of the California Assn. of Health Plans. “It is working and the fact there are adjustments in the early days only means the demands were great.”
Reported by Chad Terhune – October 7, 2013