Healthcare.gov Malfunction Left Users Unable To Apply For Coverage Through Obamacare On Sunday

on October 27 2013 10:32 PM

A data center that allows people to apply for coverage under President Barack Obama's health care law went down on Sunday, the U.S. government said, according to Reuters.

The malfunction of key technology behind HealthCare.gov was the latest problem to affect the Obamacare website. Since the site's Oct. 1 debut, many users have been unable to create accounts or sign up for coverage, CNN reports.

Joanne Peters, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, confirmed the problem and said a vendor networking issue was to blame. Verizon subsidiary Terremark "experienced a failure in a networking component" but an attempt to fix the glitch ended up crashing the system, Peters said.

"We are working with Terremark to get their timeline for addressing the issue," she said in an email to news outlets. "We understand that this issue is affecting other customers in addition to HealthCare.gov, and Terremark is working [to] resolve the issue as quickly as possible."

The malfunction impacted the "Data Services Hub," which connects the website to the IRS and various databases that are used to determine eligibility, CNN reports. A day earlier, the hub was touted by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius as one of the Obamacare technologies that was working.

Verizon (VZ, Fortune 500) spokesman Jeff Nelson said his company was working on the issue and it would be "fixed as quickly as possible."

"Our engineers have been working with HHS and other technology companies to identify and address the root cause of the issue," he said.

The malfunction also impacted some state-based exchanges. Health officials in Connecticut -- one of the 14 states, along with the District of Columbia, that launched health exchanges -- said Sunday that users wouldn't be able to finish the sign-up process for some services but could create accounts and search for pricing options, according to Reuters.

The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services told Connecticut officials about the outage and gave no indication of when the data services hub would be functioning again, a spokeswoman for Access Health CT, which is the Connecticut exchange, said.

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