Access Health: Outage in federal Obamacare data system stalls most CT enrollments

Connecticut residents trying to sign up for subsidized health care coverage through Access Health CT, the state's health insurance exchange, were unable to complete the process because of an outage involving the federal system used to verify applicant information, Access Health announced Sunday afternoon.

The system, known as the federal data services hub, is used by the exchanges to verify information including citizenship and income of applicants. Access Health said in a statement Sunday that it received notice of the outage from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which oversees the systems used for people to enroll in coverage made available as part of the health law commonly known as Obamacare.

The problem was resolved Monday morning, allowing applications to be processed, Access Health said Monday afternoon.

While Connecticut does not use the problematic healthcare.gov website to enroll people in its exchange, as 34 other states do, the state's exchange must still use the federal data hub as part of its enrollment process.

"Customers will not be able to access Remote Identity Proofing, Social Security Administration or Advanced Premium Tax Credits also referred to as subsidies. As a result, consumers will not be able to complete the sign up process for Medicaid or Advanced Premium Tax Credit determinationsm," the Access Health statement said Sunday. "Connecticut consumers can continue to create accounts as well as shop anonymously for pricing comparisons. As soon as the issue is resolved by the Federal System, Access Health CT will provide a follow up notification."

The data center that hosts the data hub and healthcare.gov is operated by the company Terremark, a subsidiary of Verizon Communications. Joanne Peters, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said Sunday that Terremark "experienced a failure in a networking component, and planned maintenance to replace it brought down network connectivity to the data center."

"Terremark is working to resolve the issue as quickly as possible," Peters said.

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