NY health exchange website upgraded, volume stays heavy

Liliana Gomez, NSHC navigator, helps Patricia Parne, of Liliana Gomez, NSHC navigator, helps Patricia Parne, of Copiague, at the very first Long Island enrollment session at The Nassau Suffolk Hospital Council Navigator Agency Office in Hauppauge, which is a state designated navigator site helping individuals shop the new insurance marketplace. (Oct. 1, 2013) Photo Credit: Heather Walsh

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The state's online health insurance website was easier to access with fewer glitches Thursday, even as volume continued to be heavy, state officials said.

"Additional servers were added on Tuesday and Wednesday to enhance capacity, and software upgrades to enhance performance have been completed," Donna Frescatore, executive director of NY State of Health, said in a statement. The changes were made in response to difficulties many people had logging into the site during the first two days.

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She said there was no indication "of any intentional efforts to overwhelm the site."

NY State of Health is the state's online insurance marketplace for individuals, families and businesses with 50 or fewer employees, as part of the federal Affordable Care Act. The exchange allows consumers to choose from private insurance plans for coverage that begins Jan. 1. Consumers must enroll by Dec. 15.

Frescatore said more than 44,000 shoppers have been on the website since its launch Tuesday, including 11,000 as of 1 p.m. Thursday.

There have been more than 1,390,570 page views since the launch and nearly 10,500 calls answered by customer service center operators, according to the state health department.The number of people seeking information from local sources also remained high. The Nassau-Suffolk Hospital Council, a lead "navigator" agency on Long Island, has assigned three people to answer calls, said Stacy Villagran, the council's director of grants administration.

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