The online portal, which had been handling millions of visitors over the past few days as enrollment pushed past 6 million, was “down for maintenance” starting at around 3:20 a.m. Officials said it returned to functionality at 9 a.m.
Health and Human Services officials said the problem was a software bug discovered overnight that was being repaired. The site goes through routine maintenance at night, but this incident spilled into high-profile hours on the final day for most people to enroll in Obamacare. More than 2 million people went to the site over the weekend.
A spokesman said Monday morning that consumers were asked to leave their email during the five-hour offline gap so that they could “be invited back” when the system returned.
The glitch will inevitably remind everyone — including the law’s GOP critics — of Obamacare’s disastrous start last October when the HealthCare.gov didn’t work at all. That will partly overshadow the strong momentum the White House has enjoyed in these last days as the state and federal websites and the nationwide call centers have processed large numbers of applications.
The official sign-up deadline is 11:59 p.m. Monday but HHS ( has already said that people who try to sign up before then and have problems can have additional time — what’s know as a “special enrollment period.” With the last-minute sign-up issues, the numbers seeking extra time may soar, so the final enrollment numbers may not be available for some time.