Official: Unlikely to Run Smoothly by End of November

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Given the extent of its software problems, the federal health insurance exchange website,, probably won't be fully functional by the end of this month, an official with knowledge of the project told The Washington Post.

The anonymous official said the site is having trouble handling more than 20,000 to 30,000 people, which is half of its intended capacity, according to the report. Furthermore, the main contractor that built the site, CGI Federal, has only successfully repaired about six of every 10 defects so far, the official told the Post.

Federal officials are working 24/7 to fix, CMS spokeswoman Julie Bataille told the Post. Ms. Bataille said federal workers have made progress in reducing error rates and getting the site to run faster.

HHS and CMS officials have said the site will run smoothly for most users by the end of this month. It has experienced numerous technical issues since its Oct. 1 launch, including crashes because of high traffic and people not being able to create accounts. The glitches have frustrated consumers and drawn criticism from the healthcare reform law's opponents.

As a result of the errors, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has said initial enrollment numbers for the federal exchange — which federal officials have said they will release this week — will be very low. Earlier this week, The Wall Street Journal reported people familiar with the matter have said fewer than 50,000 people have managed to enroll in health plans through the federal health insurance exchange site, far short of the nearly 500,000 people the Obama administration estimated would enroll using the site in October.

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