Obamacare malfunction shuts down application tool

Obamacare malfunction shuts down application tool
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POSTED: Monday, October 28, 2013 - 10:17am

UPDATED: Monday, October 28, 2013 - 10:18am

A malfunction in key technology behind the Obamacare website left users unable to apply for health coverage Sunday.

Joanne Peters, a spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Human Services, a vendor networking issue at Verizon subsidiary Terremark was to blame. Peters said the vendor had "experienced a failure in a networking component," and the attempted fix crashed the system.

Verizon spokesman Jeff Nelson said his company was working on the issue and it would be "fixed as quickly as possible."

Neither HHS nor Verizon responded Monday to CNNMoney's questions about the status of efforts to fix the problem.

This malfunction impacted the "Data Services Hub," which connects the website to IRS and other databases used to determine eligibility. On Saturday, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius touted the "hub" as one of the Obamacare technologies that was working.

The malfunction not only impacted the troubled federal website, but also hit some state-based exchanges. Peters said the problem was "likely impacting several other sites," and Kathleen Tallarita of the Connecticut insurance marketplace said Sunday evening some customers there could not sign up.

On Monday, officials at state exchanges told CNNMoney they were working to see how the outage impacted their sites. Fourteen states and the District of Columbia elected to set up their own exchanges, which have been largely error-free.

Peters said that Sebelius discussed the problem with Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam.

The outage was the latest issue to hit the troubled HealthCare.gov. Since a disappointing debut on Oct. 1, some users have been unable to create accounts or sign up for coverage.

President Obama said in a speech last week teams were "working out the kinks in the system." He appointed former White House budget official Jeffrey Zients to oversee the repairs. Zients said the site would be working for "vast majority" of users next month.

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