Amid a big marketing push, California's enrollment website for Obamacare coverage has suffered an unexpected outage due to software glitches.
The website problems come at a crucial time as the Covered California exchange tries to persuade more uninsured people to sign up ahead of a March 31 deadline.
The state exchange unveiled new TV commercials and radio ads this week aimed in particular at Latinos, who have been slow to enroll so far. The exchange is also urging more people to visit enrollment counselors, who rely on the state's online system.
Covered California took its enrollment system down for scheduled maintenance and upgrades for 24 hours this past weekend. But problems have persisted and Thursday consumers were greeted by a message saying "the enrollment portion of the site is being worked on."
Covered California said website errors began occurring Wednesday and it said "engineers are working around the clock" to resolve the problem.
"Covered California’s enrollment portal has been temporarily taken offline because of software malfunctions that were affecting the consumer experience," the exchange said in a statement.
The rest of the exchange website, including its shop and compare calculator for different health plans, is still available as well as general information.
Through mid-February, Covered California has enrolled 828,638 people in private health plans as part of the Affordable Care Act.
California's website at coveredca.com has performed better than the federal exchange site, healthcare.gov, which had a disastrous launch in the fall.
Instead, Covered California has experienced problems with hourlong wait times on the phone, faulty notices sent to applicants and an error-ridden physician directory that got pulled this month.
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