Washington Exchange Web Site Stumbles Out Of The Gates

By Austin Jenkins

It was a rocky start to Obamacare in Washington. The state’s new health insurance website is up now, but it was shut down for most of the day because of technical glitches.

Misti Hlavacek set her alarm early to get up and sign up for healthcare. She couldn’t wait to log onto wahealthplanfinder.org and select an insurance plan. Instead:

Misti Hlavacek: “It just said error, loading page, reload.”

Hlavacek vented her disappointment on the Exchange’s Facebook page: “Boo,” she wrote. Hlavacek is unemployed, uninsured and has pre-existing conditions.

Misti Hlavacek: “Being able to sign up would have been a huge relief for me and just all that weight lifted off my shoulders.”

Bharat Shyam: “The launch could not have gone any worse.”

Bharat Shyam is Washington’s former chief information officer and a big fan of Obamacare. Back in January, he warned in a report that the race to meet an October 1st deadline could result in “major flaws.”

Bharat Shyam: “This date was coming for a long time and the launch is just terrible.”

An Exchange spokesman called the problems “bumps in the road” and said success would be measured in the coming months, not the first hours. Deloitte LLP got a $50M contract to build Washington’s Exchange.

On the web: http://www.wahealthplanfinder.org/

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