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U.S. Health Insurance Marketplace Slammed Under Demand

Forget the latest iPhone — the servers that crumbled under demand last week are those run by the U.S. federal and state governments. The new Health Insurance Marketplace, a key component of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (colloquially known as Obamacare), opened up 1 October 2013, and has so far struggled to keep up with the traffic. Even days later, the site(s) are having trouble, leading to stern criticism from the Washington Post. It’s exciting to see Americans lining up around the virtual block not for an electronic luxury good, but for a core service.

Regardless of your opinions of the law, it’s here, and if you are among the tens of millions of Americans who currently lack health insurance, we encourage you to visit and see what’s on offer. Overall, the site seems well-designed and stocked with a wide variety of explanatory information. (For the record, we have no interest in debating the 906-page law itself — or its potential ramifications — since it’s sufficiently massive and far-reaching that any non-expert debate is likely to render the Onion’s parody coverage closer to truth than fiction.)

On, after answering a question about your state of residency, you’ll either be directed to your state’s marketplace, or, if your state hasn’t established one, the federal marketplace. And if you can’t get through right away, try again in a day or two. Enrollment is open until 31 March 2014 and coverage will begin 1 January 2014. An individual mandate to obtain health insurance is set to go into place in 2014, with penalties of up to $95 per adult who declines coverage. The penalty is scheduled to rise to $695 per adult in 2016.


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Comments about U.S. Health Insurance Marketplace Slammed Under Demand
(Comments are closed.)

Beth Phillips  2013-10-02 05:23
What does this have to do with Mac News, other than the mention of an iPhone in the article, and why is MacTibits pushing the Obama administration's health care agenda? You can say you don't have any interest in debating the law, but you obviously are taking a stand by even bothering to mention it in this forum. This has nothing to do with my Apple products or how I use them. If this were an article on the NSA's surveillance tactics and how they affect users of Apple products that would be relevant, but this is certainly not and has no place here.
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2013-10-02 14:01
TidBITS (not MacTibits) has always covered the technology world, with a focus on Apple products, so the only criteria for what we cover is that we feel it's important to cover.

In this case, we found it interesting that something along these lines would generate the kind of traffic normally associated with a new iPhone or WWDC tickets.

Plus, we've heard from too many long-time TidBITS readers over the years who have lost their jobs and health insurance. We even once posted a link to an Apple memorabilia fundraiser for a reader in this exact sort of bind.
David Emme  2013-10-02 14:09
" obviously are taking a stand by even bothering to mention it in this forum."

By that logic, they would just as obviously be taking a (the opposite) stand by not mentioning it at all. Some days they just can't win!
artMonster  2013-10-03 13:36
In fact, a “Take Control of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" would be quite helpful.
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2013-10-03 15:23
Talk about a tough one to write! :-)
John B  2013-10-08 16:25
Too soon for a write-up about a topic that hasn't fully launched and has many different iterations to describe when it does launch. Each state can have its separate rendition and results. This is a truly tough one to grasp, never mind the writing. That's the difficulty about PPACA; generalization hasn't been very viable. Complexity breeds perplexity.