A schedule maintenance time for Healthcare.gov ended with the site being down for an extended period of time due to a software bug. The last day of open enrollment has already hit its first snag. The deadline for people to buy coverage for 2014 opened without the national healthcare exchange being up and running.

Techs for the site discovered the bug during the routine check, and had to work to fix it. The scheduled window was between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m., but the discovery and fix had the site down for hours after the window. A spokesman for Health and Human Services said the issue was not volume related, and that people in the middle of their application would be invited back via email to complete it.

Traffic has been surging to the site in recent days as the open enrollment window draws to a close. It turns out that the vast majority of Americans love procrastinating, and the number of enrollees under the Affordable Care Act will spike in waning days of the period.

The Obama Administration announced last week that it would extend the open enrollment deadline for those impacted by technical glitches. A revised goal of 6 million sign ups has already been exceeded, and with the traffic surge, the original goal of 7 million sign ups could be hit.

If the original goal is hit, it would be a clear victory for the law that saw a disastrous rollout last fall. Today will be a true test of the site’s volume capacity as people rush to get coverage. With the number of private insurance policies bought under the law, the GOP will have a hard time matching their repeal rhetoric with action. These policies are now part of earnings for insurers. The same companies with massive lobby budgets.


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