Online Hiccups Mar Launch of State Health Exchange

Despite the shutdown of the federal government, this morning brought the launch of the state’s Health Benefit Exchange, the online marketplace created under Obamacare where the uninsured can sign up for plans that fit federal price and coverage guidelines.

At least momentarily, anyway ...

According to officials with the Washington Health Benefit Exchange, shortly after the website launch it was determined that some users were experiencing “slow loading times or difficulty completing their application.” While these hiccups weren’t affecting all users, the site was temporarily taken down so the bugs could be worked out. As of 10 a.m., according to Washington Healthplanfinder spokesperson Bethany Frey, the site is currently in “maintenance mode,” though it is expected to be back up and running shortly.

“Trying to bring it back up right now and will continue to monitor any performance issues,” says Frey via email.

The Exchange issued the following statement from CEO Richard Onizuk:

“This morning, we determined that consumers attempting to enroll in health coverage through Washington Healthplanfinder experienced slow loading times or difficulty completing their application. While this is not affecting all users, the site was placed into maintenance mode in order to identify and correct these issues.

Our team has made a few modifications to the site and are currently in the process of bringing Washington Healthplanfinder back online. We will continue to closely monitor the website for any performance issues and will take additional action as needed.

Again, the experience of our customers is our top priority and we thank you for your patience as we work to bring the site back up to Washingtonians statewide.”

Not surprisingly, a few conservative pundits have pounced on the website hiccups. Kirby Wilbur, the former chairman of the state Republican Party, retweeted a tweet from @SunnyRight stating: “@HealthCareGov You can’t even get your website to work but you’re gonna run health care.”

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