California’s Obamacare Website Shut Down for Five Days

Part of the “Covered California” website, created to allow Californians to enroll for health insurance coverage under the federal Affordable Health Care Act (“Obamacare”), was taken out of service from February 19 through February 24 due to glitches that made it impossible for some users to sign up.

Some parts of the site remained functional, but consumers could not sign up for coverage during the five-day shutdown, which occurred as a March 31 deadline approaches for uninsured people to buy health insurance or become liable for penalties.

The shutdown also occurred as the government-funded agency began an expensive marketing push to encourage people to sign up for health coverage through the website. Covered California had just announced an $8.2 million Spanish-language advertising campaign that will run through the end of March. (Sources: The Bakersfield Californian, February 24; San Francisco Chronicle, February 23.)

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