Online insurance markets overwhelmed by launch day traffic

The number of people who came in to speak to a “navigator” at various locations across the country were minimal, but those seeking online help with their health care future flooded the government website and forced delays and even website crashes.

Heavy volume contributed to technical problems and delays that plagued the rollout Tuesday of the online insurance markets at the heart of President Obama’s health care law, according to state and federal officials, who were watching closely for clues to how well the system will work and how many people will take advantage of it.

Many people who tried to compare plans and shop for coverage at healthcare.gov, the federally run exchange that serves as the marketplace for residents of most states, met with messages citing high traffic and advising, “Please wait here until we send you to the login page” or “The system is down at the moment.” A state-run exchange in Maryland also posted a message saying it was “experiencing connectivity issues” and asking visitors to try again later.

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