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HealthCare Checkup

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

March 31, 2014 at 6:22 PM

Healthplanfinder’s two brief outages may have been triggered by feds

So far, Washington state’s health exchange website — Washington Healthplanfinder — has held up very well under the increased activity as tonight’s deadline for signing up approaches.

The website did experience two very brief outages, and there are indications that those outages may be related to troubles on the Federal Data Services Hub.

According to Curt Kwak, chief information officer of the Washington Health Benefit Exchange, the organization that manages the website, the federal hub also went down twice today, and his staff is investigating whether it caused the state’s site to go down.

The first outage on the Healthplanfinder website was at about 11:30 a.m. and lasted approximately 15 minutes.  That occurred about 2.5 hours after the federal hub went down.  Kwak said the problem on the federal hub was with its remote ID proofing service.

“Our issue was with the security servers, which could have been impacted by a number of issues, including the surge in people creating accounts and applications in record numbers, but could have been compounded by the fact that the federal ID proofing service was down twice today,” Kwak said.  “We can’t say for sure, but if there is any connection to the federal ID proofing system going down, our security servers could have tried to authenticate user ID’s multiple times, which could have multiplied the use of our security server.”

The second outage on the exchange site was very brief and occurred only about 5 minutes after the second federal hub outage.  That second outage on the exchange was just long enough to reset the server, and it occurred at 4:23 p.m.

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