Health care

ObamaCare site may still have glitches after key deadline, administration says

Report: Democrats fear website won't work by November 30


Some visitors to the federal ObamaCare website will reportedly continue to experience outages, slow response times and delays after the administration's critical Nov. 30 deadline for an improved enrollment website experience.

"The system will not work perfectly on Dec. 1, but it will work much better than it did in October," said Julie Bataille, communications director for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the agency responsible for administering ObamaCare, The Hill reported.

Bataille said errors that persist after the administration's self-imposed deadline would be “intermittent,” but acknowledged that some would still experience "periods of suboptimal performance," according to the report. 

Jeffrey Zients, a management consultant enlisted by the White House to fix the website, set the Nov. 30 goal to have the federal site "working smoothly for the vast majority of users." He said last week that work will continue beyond that, but the website is far improved.

The website experienced an unexpected outage for an hour on Monday. Bataille said the problem was quickly resolved by the site's tech team, according to The Hill. 

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Bataille also said that call-center operators for will be closed from midnight Wednesday until midnight Thursday because of the Thanksgiving holiday.  

There's no day off, however, for the technical team fixing the troubled website. On Thanksgiving, they'll be monitoring its performance under what may be a surge of holiday users.

The Obama administration has said scheduled repairs should allow the site to be ready to handle 50,000 simultaneous users by the end of the month, close to the level first envisioned. That translates to about 800,000 visits a day.

The website serving 36 states froze up the very day it launched, and several states running their own sites have also experienced technology troubles. Fewer than 27,000 people were able to sign up during October in the federally-administered states, and another 79,000 in state-run programs.

The Department of Health and Human Services announced last week it would allow consumers to start signing up for coverage during next year's open enrollment season.on Nov. 15, 2014, a month later than originally scheduled. 

Separately, the administration also announced a small schedule change in this year's open enrollment season, pushing that deadline to Dec. 23.

The administration has rebuffed calls from some lawmakers to delay or extend the current enrollment deadline. Asked last week if open enrollment would be extended beyond Mar. 31, 2014, Bataille said, "not at this point."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.