By Coral Garnick/Seattle Times staff reporter
Update, 2:35 p.m.:
Officials say they now expect to be back online by 8 a.m. Sunday.
A statement issued Saturday afternoon adds, “Thank you for your patience as we work to ensure that customers receive correct information from Healthplanfinder.”
The Associated Press reports that state officials and software engineers were trying to resolve the problem, which involves tax-credit calculations.
Officials at the exchange said site appeared to be working fine at first, on this opening day of the second round of open enrollment. When the exchange’s automatic quality-control system reported the problem, they decided to shut the whole system down at about 10:30 a.m. to fix it, according to The Associated Press.
The tax credits were off by just a few dollars in some cases, exchange CEO Richard Onizuka said.
Washington Healthplanfinder, the state’s online insurance marketplace, is down, just as the second open-enrollment period of the Affordable Care Act was getting started.
In its the first hours Saturday morning, it became clear that 2015 tax-credit amounts for those looking to buy health insurance, were being calculated incorrectly. As a result, Healthplanfinder has been taken offline until the issue is resolved. It is unclear at this time how long it will take.
Washington Healthplanfinder experienced technical problems in the last year, but of a different sort.
While the state’s health-exchange website has fared far better than the federal government’s multi-state site, it there were nagging performance issues early on, forcing it to be taken offline intermittently.
In August, in response to ongoing problems, state Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler instituted a limited special enrollment period that ended this past week for consumers who want to get coverage outside the exchange.During that period, those who had problems enrolling or making payments through Healthplanfinder could enroll in coverage outside the exchange by choosing a different plan with the same carrier or by changing carriers.
Open enrollment for health insurance continues through Feb. 15.