|By Randy Tucker, Dayton Daily News, Ohio|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
Computer software and hardware upgrades have doubled the website's computing capacity from a month ago, according to officials, who said the website can now accommodate 50,000 users at one time, as originally intended, and as many as 800,000 visitors a day.
"I'll believe it when I see it," said
Spinner is among millions of consumers nationwide seeking coverage in new health care marketplaces created by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and who have been frustrated by blank screens, error messages, system outages and other technical problems that have blocked them from accessing coverage through the government website.
HealthCare.gov is the main portal for enrollment in
Delays still expected
With some exceptions, the state-run websites have experienced fewer hiccups and higher enrollment than states utilizing HealthCare.gov, which was blamed for keeping total enrollment down in the first month after the launch of the website on
Nearly 27 million Americans visited state and federal marketplace websites in October, but only about one million of those visitors were able to complete applications and find out if they were eligible for coverage, based on national and state-level figures released earlier this month by HHS. Meanwhile, just 106,185 Americans actually selected a plan in October, including 1,150 Ohioans.
"Those just aren't good numbers," said
Despite continued problems with the website, government officials said earlier this week that federal marketplace enrollment continues to climb at an accelerated pace, although official numbers for November will not be released until later this month.
State enrollment alone has nearly doubled from October to 150,000, up from 79,000 last month, according to the latest state marketplace figures, which showed particularly strong enrollment in
But even with the upgrades to the federal website, government officials are not promising performance on par with the state marketplaces, instead projecting the federal website would work for about 80 percent of users by today.
"As we make these improvements, we expect to see intermittent periods when the system may be slow or not responsive. But we've made measurable progress, and we are moving forward," said