“Today, Terremark had a network failure that is impacting a number of their clients including HealthCare.gov,” HHS spokeswoman Joanne Peters said in a statement Sunday. “Secretary Sebelius spoke with the CEO of Verizon this afternoon to discuss the situation and they committed to fixing the problem as soon as possible." Peters added that the failure brought down network connectivity to the site and that it likely impacted other sites in addition to HealthCare.gov and the data services hub.
A day before, Sebelius penned a blog post that described the data hub as an “information sharing tool” used to quickly verify information from consumers looking to determine what coverage options and financial assistance are available to them. The hub is not, Sebelius continued, a database used to retain or store information. The secretary ended her blog praising the hub as a 21st-century way to assess eligibility for coverage and premium assistance that is “working for residents of all 50 states and DC.” Then came Sunday and Terremark's network failure.
Meanwhile, Sebelius also highlighted that the Internal Revenue Service offers a premium tax credit computation service that she said is optional for state marketplaces. “If a marketplace chooses the IRS service,” she wrote, “it sends a few data points, without identifying the applicant, and the IRS provides a math result in response.” The IRS has received more than 330,000 requests for the computation services with an average actual response time of 0.21 seconds, Sebelius noted.
But this bit of news about exchange technology that's working may be overshadowed by the Terremark outage, the latest in a long line of technical woes affecting HealthCare.gov. And in just three days, Sebelius is scheduled to face House lawmakers in a hearing about the troubled rollout of the health reform law's insurance marketplaces.
Meanwhile, President Barack Obama is scheduled to appear at Boston's Faneuil Hall on Wednesday afternoon to promote the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Follow Jessica Zigmond on Twitter: @MHjzigmond