“Right now, hc.gov is queuing consumers,” HHS spokeswoman Joanne Peters confirmed in a statement. “This system is in place while the tech team works on fixing an error that happened during routine maintenance last night. This work started at 10 a.m. and we anticipate this could take two to three hours and that the site will be up and running again soon.”
The outage comes at a critical time as people are expected to flock to the site before a Dec. 23 deadline to enroll in order to get coverage that's effective Jan. 1 under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
On Dec. 1, federal officials declared the site was “running smoothly” for a majority of Americans after the CMS and its contractors spent weeks working to salvage the website from a catastrophic Oct. 1 launch followed by two months of outages and delays.
The CMS said the site was fully operational by early afternoon on Friday.
Follow Joseph Conn on Twitter: @MHJConn