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Design and Software Problems Plague Health Exchanges

MONDAY, Oct. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Problems signing up for health insurance through HealthCare.gov, the federal website serving health exchanges in 36 states, are the result of design and software problems, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Although the Obama administration last week blamed high traffic for most of the problems, federal health officials said Sunday that design changes and greater server capacity are needed to improve the online marketplace, the Journal reported.

Information technology experts consulted by the Journal said the site appeared to be "built on a sloppy software foundation." HealthCare.gov stumbled out of the gate last Tuesday -- the first day of open enrollment under the Affordable Care Act -- as consumers tried to peruse their health-plan options and enroll in coverage. In the hours and days after its launch, consumers encountered long lag times and technical difficulties.

"We can do better and we are working around the clock to do so," Joanne Peters, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, told the newspaper. Federal health officials have yet to disclose how many people enrolled in health plans through the federally operated marketplace last week.

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