Obamacare website glitches: Foreshadowing future issues?

The Obama administration is rolling out its Affordable Care Act website Tuesday morning.

It’s a big day for the Affordable Care Act -- and also a glitch-filled day.

Today was the first time Americans could sign up for health insurance via federal and state-run exchanges. But a host of problems, from website hiccups to unanswered telephone help lines, meant some people couldn’t actually sign up.

The glitches weren’t necessarily a surprise -- even the president warned there could very well be technical difficulties on the first day. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services reported they had 2.8 million visits to healthcare.gov on opening day.

For some, the technical difficulties meant the details of the health care plans are still a mystery.

"We still don’t know a lot about what the coverage will look like, so what the deductibles and co-pays for prescription drugs will be," says Larry Levitt from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

But computer glitches aren't the only reason confusion around Obamacare remains.

"How’s it really going to help? What’s it going to take? How much coverage can it give you?" asks Gwen Howell in Camden, N.J. She doesn’t have insurance and wonders, "Is it really gonna give you coverage?"

There’s been so much political noise around Obamacare, it’s hard for regular people to understand what’s going on. That should change going forward as word of mouth and government-led education initiatives spread. 

People like Gwen Howell will start to make their way to the exchanges – it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

But problems with the exchanges are bad advertising. At the end of the day, continued glitches could be a real problem in getting people signed up.

About the author

Dan Gorenstein is the senior reporter for Marketplace’s Health Desk. You can follow him on Twitter @dmgorenstein.
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There have been problems with the new healthcare reform ever since it opened. The glitches have made Americans frustrated with what Obamacare was supposed to promise them. The most recent disaster that is a result of the glitches is that many Americans are applying for medicaid rather than going through private insurance policies because the process is easier through medicaid. Private insurance companies are worried since they need the young and healthy Americans to keep buying private healthcare policies in order to make Obamacare work the way it is designed too. If the young and healthy Americans don't keep buying private policies then the private insurance companies will have to be forced to raise their rates. I found a really great article that talks about this hiccup in more detail. The link to the article is listed below, Hopefully this gives everyone a new perspective on the problems regarding Obamacare. Let me know what you all think! :)


This was a disappointing topic -- a lot of time has been spent on this, and particularly annoying on such a busy news day. This is not news compared to the debt ceiling, rollout of the ACA and everything else. Also seemed to focus on adding anxiety to the news mix -- trust me, not necessary for many of us. Please focus your sharp reporting skills on something more important.

glitches and glitches. You talked about them before the roll out and after. You made a news story out of nothing and now had to report about it. How wonderful. Oct. 1 you guys probably dug through every AP report desperately needing to confirm your own made up news story.

The issue isn't whether there are any glitches. Anyone who combs through the results of a multi-thousand page website roll out on day one will find problems. Bank of America was down even yesterday for a few minutes and they've been up for a decade, and even amazon has issues from time to time. The issue isn't whether you can find problems, but whether they are debilitating to a significantly large enough number of users.

This story was nothing more than an attempt to confirm your own pre-packaged psuedo-news. Please go out a do some actual digging on the results and determine what the actual problems were, instead of offering conjecture and interviewing an "expert" with a bunch of fuzzy, open-ended questions.

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