Surprise: On "Final" Enrollment Day, HealthCare.Gov Crashes

Posted: Mar 31, 2014 1:00 PM

When John King asserted on CNN that it’s “deadline day” today, he was technically correct. And yet the administration’s announcement last week that they would grant extensions to those who’ve had trouble signing up for Obamacare suggests that the enrollment deadline isn’t so cut and dry.

Now potential enrollees need only check a “blue box,” confirming that they’ve experienced technical difficulties at some point in the enrollment process. In so doing, they’ll be issued an extension. In other words, pretty much anyone can get an extension if they so choose, which is why House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) called the latest Obamacare delay “a joke.” But the jokes continued today when the website launched months ago wasn’t even functioning properly:

King tried to navigate “a half dozen times” this morning, he said; he was only able to successfully log-on three times. That’s a fifty percent failure rate. How many other shoppers looking for health insurance faced similar technical set-backs? Interestingly, the issue wasn’t even related to a surge in web traffic, as one might expect. Nope. It was just another normal, run-of-the-mill crash:

Administration spokesman Aaron Albright said the website was brought back up shortly before 9 a.m., Eastern time. But people who missed their window sign up may still be able to take advantage of a grace period and other special extensions announced last week.

Albright said the site undergoes "regular nightly maintenance" during off-peak hours and that period was extended because of a "technical problem." He did not say what the problem was, but a statement from the Department of Health and Human Services called it "a software bug" unrelated to application volume.

The final day of enrollment began much like the first day of enrollment. And that can’t be a good sign.

UPDATE: The technical issues today are way worse than we thought.