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Signing up on Washington’s site still slow

Thu., Oct. 3, 2013, midnight

SEATTLE – Washington state’s new health insurance exchange experienced more problems on Wednesday, its second day of operation.

The website offers visitors a friendly, bright green welcome page, but the internal workings were plagued by glitches.

Still, some people were able to sign up for health insurance as part of the nation’s new health care law, according to officials with the Washington Health Benefit Exchange.

Others encountered slow loading times and trouble completing online applications.

More than 170,000 people visited the site on Tuesday and more than 6,000 accounts have been created. Data on how many people have signed up for insurance won’t be available until Friday.

A call to a help line reached a friendly operator telling people the site was experiencing difficulties and to try back in an hour or so.

Richard Onizuka, CEO for the Washington Health Benefit Exchange, thanked people for their patience.

“While we have experienced some expected bumps in the road, the corrections made last night and continued enhancements to the site over time will ensure a smooth application process for those seeking and enrolling in health coverage,” he wrote in a statement.

Problems closed the website on Tuesday shortly after it launched. The site reopened later in the day, but glitches continued.

Site managers blamed unexpected user activity and interaction with the marketplace for some of the problems.

Onizuka said his technical team did extensive testing before the launch.

“We totally understand the frustration,” Michael Marchand, spokesman for the Health Benefit Exchange, said. “We’re going to continue to make the site better.”

In addition to the online marketplace, Washington residents can sign up by telephone or in person.

Associated Press

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