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Healthcare.gov struggles to handle traffic before deadline

The HealthCare.gov website is shown laptop WashingtMonday March 31 2014. Today is deadline sign up for private heath insurance online

The HealthCare.gov website is shown on a laptop in Washington, Monday, March 31, 2014. Today is the deadline to sign up for private heath insurance in the online markets created by President Obama's heath care law or face a federal fines. (AP Photo/J. David Ake)

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Updated: March 31, 2014 2:41PM



How's this for bad timing. On the last day to sign up for the Affordable Care Act, Healthcare.gov went down for maintenance.

While attempting to apply early Monday morning, users were getting the following message:

“The system isn’t available at the moment. We’re currently performing maintenance. Please try again later.”

Administration spokesman Aaron Albright told the Associated Press that the website undergoes "regular nightly maintenance" during off-peak hours and that period was extended because of a "technical problem." He did not say what the problem was, but a statement from the Department of Health and Human Services called it "a software bug" unrelated to application volume.

Albright said the website is typically down for maintenance during the period from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. EDT, and that as a result of the technical problems the site was down for at least three additional hours on Monday morning.

While the site went back up around 7:30 a.m. CDT, it has been having trouble handling the traffic volume and is directing some into a virtual waiting room.

"HealthCare.gov has a lot of visitors right now! We need you to wait here, so we can make sure there’s room for you to have a good experience on our site."

There's also an option to get a "one-time message" in your email when the site is "ready for you to return."



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