U.S. health exchanges say federal data hub operating again

Reuters

Oct 28 (Reuters) - A key link to federal data used by thewebsites that sell health insurance under the U.S. health reformlaw appeared to be working again after a data center failureblocked enrollment across the country on Sunday, two state-basedexchanges said on Monday.

The crash of the data center, operated by VerizonCommunication Inc's Terremark unit, affected not only thefederal government's online exchange, HealthCare.gov, but alsothe sites run by 14 states and the District of Columbia, theDepartment of Health and Human Services said on Sunday.

It was the latest problem in the troubled Internet rolloutof the health insurance exchanges set up by the 2010 AffordableCare Act, which has President Barack Obama's administrationscrambling to fix the technical issues that plague the system.

Representatives of the Connecticut-based and New York-basedexchanges said on Monday that the federal data hub was workingagain. That hub is used by all of the states and the governmentto complete exchange applications.

Verizon and HHS, which oversees the exchanges, did notrespond to requests for comment. Connecticut's site was thefirst to report the outage on Sunday.

The federal website, which sells insurance for the 36 statesthat chose not to operate their own Obamacare exchange, has beenplagued by technology failures since it was launched on Oct. 1.On Friday, the government said it would be operating smoothly bythe end of November.

The outage that started early Sunday severed connectionswith the federal data services hub, which links the onlinehealth insurance marketplaces with numerous federal agencies andcan verify people's identity, citizenship, income, and otherinformation.

Without the hub, consumers are unable to apply online forcoverage or determine their eligibility for federal subsidies tohelp pay for insurance premiums. The hub was built by atechnology unit of UnitedHealth Group Inc.

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