The Politics Blog

Washington's health exchange site crippled by early glitch, system back online at around 1:30 p.m.

Staff writerOctober 1, 2013 

Washington state's online health insurance marketplace,, was malfunctioning for many customers the morning of its Oct. 1 debut. State officials took the site down for several hours Oct. 1 to assess what wasn't working, and had it back online by 2 p.m. (Screenshot of

Update: The Washington Healthplanfinder insurance exchange is back up and running this afternoon. Spokesmen for the agency that runs the marketplace say it went back online at about 1:30 p.m. after modifications were made to the system.

The Washington Health Benefit Exchange says some consumers may continue to experience "intermittent" problems while filling out forms online. It also warned that at 8 p.m. the insurance exchange "may be temporarily unavailable as we conduct additional maintenance to improve the current experience. We expect to have more information to share tomorrow morning."

Noon update: The Washington health exchange site continues to have problems, and a spokeswoman now says it is unclear how soon the will be up and running.  “We made some fixes. We’re trying to bring it back online," spokeswoman Bethany Frey said. "I would encourage people to check back during the day.’’

Original post: Operators of Washington state's new health insurance exchange say they are still investigating why their web site did not function properly this morning for all users. The site was taken off line shortly after its 7:30 a.m. launch while officials looked into the problems that kept many consumers from accessing the site, pricing policies and signing up for insurance coverage.

The main site of the Washington Health Benefit Exchange, which operates the insurance marketplace, also was failing to work at one point. But it now is back up and working.

Richard Onizuka, chief executive officer for the exchange, put out an updated statement at 9:45 that said:

“This morning, we determined that consumers attempting to enroll in health coverage through Washington Healthplanfinder experienced slow loading times or difficulty completing their application. While this is not affecting all users, the site was placed into maintenance mode in order to identify and correct these issues.

Our team has made a few modifications to the site and are currently in the process of bringing Washington Healthplanfinder back online. We will continue to closely monitor the website for any performance issues and will take additional action as needed.

Again, the experience of our customers is our top priority and we thank you for your patience as we work to bring the site back up to Washingtonians statewide.”

Despite the computer problems, the exchange call center’s toll free telephone number is working at 1-855-WAFINDER or 1-855-923-4633.

Stay tuned.

UPDATE: Oregon's exchange site also was having problems this morning.


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