Federal Data Hub Vital for Health Care Enrollment Crashes (Again), Then Recovers

Oct 31, 2013

The federal data hub used to verify application information for customers searching for health insurance crashed for the second time this week.
Credit Flickr Creative Commons, rfranklinaz

Update 2:37 pm: The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) informed Access Health CT that the outage has been addressed and the system is again operating normally.

1:14 pm: The federal data hub that verifies information for Connecticut residents seeking health care coverage crashed for the second time this week. That meant state customers who were enrolling for health coverage couldn't complete the process. 

Kevin Counihan is CEO of Access Health CT, the state health care marketplace. While Access Health CT worked to reduce the number of times in needs to ping federal servers, Counihan said there are still times when his website needs to interface with federal data hubs.

"When the hub goes down, it fundamentally impacts our enrollees in two areas," Counihan said. "One is in ID proofing and the second is questions related to social security." Social security information is used to verify information provided by potential enrollees. Until it gets verified, an applicant cannot finalize their enrollment.

In a statement, Access Health CT said consumers can still create accounts and comparison shop for prices while the federal hub is down. They say they'll issue another release when federal servers are back up. The last outage occurred on Sunday, October 27, and took about 24 hours to fix. On Wednesday, Kathleen Sebalius, Barack Obama's top health care official, told Congress she takes responsibility for the "debacle" of cascading technical problems at the federal level. Sebelius is promising to have the problems fixed by November 30.