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SACRAMENTO - It's been the Achilles' heel for many across the country who have tried to enroll in health care exchanges over the past five months – website problems.

In the latest issue plaguing California's exchange website,CoveredCA.com, an unspecified glitch prompted technicians to take the enrollment portal offline Wednesday. As of Friday evening, the site was still down.

"We are doing that assessment, it's taking some time, but we are pretty positive we will have it straightened out by tomorrow morning," Dana Howard, Covered California spokesman, said.

Howard is asking for patience from those who are still trying to enroll before the March 31 deadline.

The latest numbers released from Covered California show about 828,000 Californians have enrolled since October 2013. Howard says that number has already exceeded the agency's predictions for 2014.

The exchange, however, has had several noticeable problems in the five months it has been open:

  • The system went offline for a few days in October
  • Fallout over incomplete applications being released to insurance agents in early December
  • Slow response times in the weeks leading up to the then-Jan. 1 enrollment deadline.
  • Problems with the provider database caused administrators to pull it from the exchange in early February

While the exchange is down, Howard pointed out customer service representatives are available to answer questions about enrolling in a health care plan. However, with the exchange down, they cannot help enroll new customers.

"We have a lot of work to do here at Covered California, and so I wouldn't be concerned that our service representatives are sitting around doing nothing because the enrollment portal doesn't happen to be functioning," Howard said.

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