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Technical Glitches Mar Affordable Care Act Exchange Debut

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 2 (HealthDay News) -- The Affordable Care Act health insurance exchanges rollout did not run smoothly on Tuesday as many consumers were frustrated by long delays and computer system failures.

In 34 states where the federal government is running the exchanges, the troubles surfaced early in the day. While attempting to sign up online for insurance coverage, consumers were faced with error messages, were unable to review health plan options, or found they couldn't enroll online. Marilyn Tavenner, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), assured reporters during a late Tuesday afternoon press conference that the technical problem had been fixed; however, reports of problems continued throughout the day. States running their own exchanges also had problems.

Open enrollment runs through March 31, 2014. Consumers must be enrolled by Dec. 15 if they want coverage to begin on Jan. 1, 2014. According to estimates by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, approximately seven million people are expected to enroll in private health coverage through the exchanges in 2014, while an additional nine million are expected to enroll in Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program.

CMS officials would not say how many people were able to enroll in an insurance plan through HealthCare.gov on Tuesday. "This is day one of a process. We're in a marathon, not a sprint, and we need your help," Tavenner said during the news briefing.

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