Busy day 1 for California’s new health insurance exchanges 

click to enlarge Gina Macaluso
  • AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli
  • Gina Macaluso, an employee of Covered California, the state's new health care exchange, provides health insurance at the newly opened call center in Rancho Cordova, Calif., Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013. California residents can call one of the state's three health exchange call centers to get information about purchasing health care insurance under the new health care law.
Opposition to the Affordable Care Act in Congress did not stop California’s new health benefit exchange from having a busy first enrollment day — and the response “reflects the long pent-up desires” of people to get affordable insurance, a spokeswoman with the state’s marketplace said.

“While we are monitoring the situation in Washington, we can’t be too focused on federal discussions,” Anne Gonzales, a spokeswoman for Covered California, said Tuesday. “The Affordable Care Act is already a law, passed by Congress, signed by a president and upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. We are forging ahead with implementation of the law.”

As of 3 p.m. Tuesday, Covered California service centers had logged about 17,000 calls and the number of representatives fielding them — 315 — had to be increased at noon. The website had some 5 million page views and averaged 5,000 per minute. It peaked at 16,000 per minute, while only being designed for 2,000 concurrent users.

“We are taking down the enrollment component of our site at 9 p.m. [Tuesday] until early [today],” Gonzales said. “This is to optimize performance for the site for the millions of users expected to log on for enrollment in the future. Other parts of our website will be accessible.”

About The Author

Jessica Kwong

Jessica Kwong

Jessica Kwong covers transportation, housing, and ethnic communities, among other topics, for the San Francisco Examiner. She covered City Hall as a fellow for the San Francisco Chronicle, night cops and courts for the San Antonio Express-News, general news for Spanish-language newspapers La Opinión and El Mensajero,... more
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