The troubled US healthcare insurance online marketplace has experienced a major glitch on Sunday after a critical data centre got disconnected and halted online enrolment across the country.
The outage of the data centre operated by Verizon’s Terremark started on Sunday morning after the centre had lost network connectivity with a data service hub of the federal government.
The affected system functions as an electronic traffic roundabout, linking the online health insurance marketplace with several federal agencies and enables verifying personal information of users.
The Obamacare users in all 50 US states have been unable to apply online for insurance or determine their eligibility for governmental subsidies to help them secure the coverage.
In addition to Obamacare, 14 similar sites operated by the District of Columbia were knocked out due to the glitch.
Joanne Peters, a spokeswoman of the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said the outage occurred during regular maintenance of the data centre when a failed networking component was being replaced. She further reassured the Department works with Verizon on fixing the problem. "They committed to fixing the problem as soon as possible," she said but was unable to specify when the system would be up and running again.
Verizon spokesmen Jeff Nelson said: "Our engineers have been working with HHS and other technology companies to identify and address the root cause of the issue."
Only one day before the outage, the HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius praised the hub's ability to perform complex calculations in quick time as an example of a successful segment of the system.
Obamacare has been plagued by technical glitches and problems since the system’s launch in early October.
Last week, contractors delivering the system blamed the lack of time for testing and the pressure of the government to launch the scheme as early as possible for the shortcomings.
The healthcare law, a centre piece of President Barrack Obama’s policy, has been the apple of discord between the US Government and the Republicans who have now launched a renewed effort to discredit the scheme.
The US congress started an investigation last week, trying to determine what went wrong in building the costly and complicated implementation system.
The Obama administration has expressed confidence it can fix the underlying problems with Healthcare.gov by early December, in time for people to meet a 15 December deadline to enrol in new health plans to receive benefits on 1 January. However, any further delays could jeopardize this goal.