Glitches Hit Nys Online Insurance Website

10.02.13 | Bob Price

Unexpectedly heavy first-day traffic strained the website New York set up for residents to shop for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, health officials said Tuesday as technicians worked on glitches that prevented some consumers from getting past the home page. In the first two hours after going live, "the site received an overwhelming and unanticipated response of 2 million website visits, causing users to have trouble logging in," a statement from the Health Department said. By about 5 p.m., the NY State of Health website had recorded 10 million hits. While the department said more than 9,000 New Yorkers had shopped for low-cost plans Tuesday, others were greeted with error messages when clicking on links to register as individuals or families. The links for employers, employees and brokers also experienced problems. Operators at the state's call center fielded thousands of calls, she said. The problems were not unique to New York as states' online insurance marketplaces that are at the heart of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul began a six-month open-enrollment period. The website offers insurance plans from 16 nonprofit and commercial insurers with premiums as low as $134 a month for the most limited coverage in the Rochester area to nearly $900 for platinum coverage on Long Island. An estimated 1.1 million uninsured New Yorkers are expected to sign up over three years.