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Group reports continued problems with site

Becky Bohrer, Associated Press

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) -- A broker established to enroll Alaskans in insurance plans via a new online marketplace reported Thursday that technical problems with the website continue.

Tyann Boling, chief operating officer for Enroll Alaska, said late Thursday morning that agents were running into "functionality difficulties" with the government-run website.

Enroll Alaska receives commissions from insurance companies offering plans on the Alaska marketplace. Two companies, Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alaska and Moda Health, are offering plans for Alaskans.

Boling said her group has received plan information from the companies and has been sharing that with individuals interested in plans. Enroll Alaska is talking with individuals about their choices and potential for getting income-based subsidies to help with costs, she said, as it waits for any remaining glitches to clear up.

Boling said her group has a large backlog of individuals interested in signing up and agents are scheduling follow-up appointments.

Officials had warned that glitches were possible when the online marketplace went live Tuesday but urged patience, as the open enrollment period runs through March. Alaska opted to let the federal government set up the site, rather than have the state do it.

It wasn't immediately clear how many individuals have signed up so far using the marketplace, which is at https://www.healthcare.gov . The site is set up as a one-stop-shop, serving as an access point for individuals around the country to find — and in some cases, be directed elsewhere for — state-specific information.

A spokeswoman for the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Stephanie Magill, said by email Thursday that 7 million Americans had visited the site to learn about their options since Tuesday.

She said experts were working "around the clock and were able to expand system capacity somewhat overnight, cutting by one-third the volume of people waiting to apply. Work on the site continues today to meet the demand and excitement generated in just the first 48 hours of our open enrollment."