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HealthCare Checkup

The Seattle Times health-care team tracks the local impact of the Affordable Care Act.

December 10, 2013 at 7:44 PM

Wahealthplanfinder.org: Up the down staircase?

Washington’s health insurance exchange website — wahealthplanfinder.org — has been challenged by a variety of technical issues over the past week, resulting in frequent outages.  While the site is at the moment of this blog posting currently available, it has been inaccessible most of the day.

The Washington Health Benefit Exchange — which manages the exchange — provided the following release just prior to the most recent outage:

“Last week, Washington Healthplanfinder customers experienced intermittent slowness and outages as they attempted to complete applications online. Our IT staff implemented a number of fixes to improve Washington Healthplanfinder’s performance. This included updates to our database, web servers, and a thorough investigation into several modifications made during recent planned weekend maintenance. The site was back up and running by the morning of Saturday, Dec. 7.

An early analysis shows that the site issues can be attributed to processing errors in our system and a contributing factor may have also been the aggressive maintenance schedule over the past several weeks. These issues were causing applications to “cycle”, taking up an inordinate amount of bandwidth in our system. After a number of tests and early maintenance, our IT team implemented fixes to address the processing issues and updated our database environment to achieve additional efficiency.

Since Saturday, Washington Healthplanfinder has seen improved performance and our IT staff will continue to monitor the system and make additional adjustments as necessary.

Please note that site outages that began Monday were separate from these performance issues. These outages were due to unplanned maintenance of the state’s Department of Social and Health Services Eligibility System (DSHS), which verifies eligibility for free or low-cost health coverage. DSHS has resolved these issues and Washington Healthplanfinder is back online.

Thank you again to everyone for their patience. We remain committed to providing our customers with a smooth online experience and apologize for the inconvenience.”

We will continue to monitor the availability and performance of the website.

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