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Weekend hustle to fix Obamacare glitches

HealthCare.gov experiencing heavy traffic to sign up for health insurance in the first days that Obamacare took effect.
Source: HealthCare.gov
HealthCare.gov experiencing heavy traffic to sign up for health insurance in the first days that Obamacare took effect.

The Obama administration will be working hard over the weekend to smooth out the technical problems which have plagued the federal insurance exchange marketplace since its October 1st launch.

"We expect that Monday, less than a week after the marketplace opening, there will be significant improvements in the online consumer experience," said Joanne Peters, a Health and Human Services Department spokesperson, in an operational update about the exchanges late Friday.

The online-application process will be taken down for maintenance during off-peak hours over the weekend, in an effort to improve capacity so that more users can get onto the system.

Four days after the launch of Healthcare.gov, the federal insurance-exchange portal which serves as the marketplace for the nearly three dozen states that don't build their own marketplaces, users continued to experience delays getting onto the system.

The administration has attributed it to a large volume of users, touting 8.6 million unique visitors to the site in the first four days as a positive indication of Americans' interest in enrolling for coverage under so-called Obamacare.

"There are some real positive stories out there," said Jon Kingsdale, the founding executive director of the Massachusetts Health Connector, who helped lead launch of the Bay State's exchange in 2006.

Kingsdale, now a director with Wakely Consulting Group, says the strong early demand bodes well for enrollment, but the bugs in system need to be worked out soon. Come November, the volume of enrollment demand will likely pick up as people look to obtain coverage for the start of the new year.

"It's tougher as volume mounts," he said. " You can get really crushed by that."

—By Bertha Coombs. Follow her on Twitter: @coombscnbc.

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