Today is officially the last day to sign up for health insurance, and the government marketplace has stumbled twice. Following a temporary outage this morning, the site was rejecting new applications outright for about 30 minutes this afternoon.
The issue was with new accounts only, meaning those who have already started their applications were unaffected. New account creation has historically been a problem for Healthcare.gov, which experienced severe technical issues for the first two months after it launched.
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the health department agency that oversees Healthcare.gov, issued the following statement when the problem was discovered:
There are a record number of people trying to access HealthCare.gov right now – more than 100,000 people concurrently in the system as of noon. The tech team monitoring HealthCare.gov in real time has identified an issue with users creating new accounts. The application and enrollment tools are unavailable to new users at the moment. The tech team is working to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.
The issue may have been caused by increased traffic as last-minute users try to sign up before the deadline to get health insurance in 2014 at midnight. That deadline had already been extended indefinitely, however, thanks to an abundance of exemptions. The extension, or "special enrollment period," was added in part due to the frequency of website errors.
Update, 1:49PM: The site is now working normally.