Covered Cal web enrollment back

Covered California enrollment web pageCovered California’s online enrollment system is back online, after an embarrassing and disruptive outage of five days.

The state Obamacare operation blamed the web site crash on “a software malfunction that occurred during a planned maintenance update on Sunday, Feb. 16.”

Many of the site’s pages were visible, but those trying to enroll were greeted with an advisory saying the site would be back soon.

“We are experiencing technical difficulties with our enrollment website & are working as quickly as possible to resolve the issue,” Covered California said during the outage.

The extended downtime came not long after Covered California took down its small-business online enrollment option, directing would-be customers to paper applications. The state Obamacare operation also had to pull down its participating Obamacare physicians directory for the second time.

While Covered California’s enrollment system has gone dark several times since the Oct. 1 launch of operations, its problems are nothing like those of the federal Affordable Care Act web site — healthcare.gov — which became a national scandal, resulting in the dismissal of the site builders and calls for the resignation of Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of Health and Human Services.

Covered California web siteStill, the California outage came a little more than a month away from the critical March 31 deadline for signing up for coverage before federal penalties kick in.

The downtime also coincided with the launch of a new media blitz designed to increase minority enrollments under the Affordable Care Act. The “I’m In”/”Tengo un Plan” ads started rolling out the same day the web site enrollment was taken down.

In the first two weeks of February, “more than 100,000 individuals enrolled in Covered California, increasing the cumulative total enrollment in Covered California to 828,638,” the health insurance marketplace said Feb. 19.

“Through Jan. 31, 2014, online applications had been started for an estimated 3,031,675 individuals seeking coverage. In the month of January, 195,356 individuals enrolled in subsidized or unsubsidized coverage through Covered California.”

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