California Healthline Daily Edition

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Covered California Had 514K Unique Visitors on Launch Day

Editor's Note: This story has been updated to reflect new data from Covered California. A Covered California spokesperson previously reported that the exchange had only 645,000 page views -- not five million -- on the first day of open enrollment. Covered California Communications Director Oscar Hidalgo said there was confusion about the exchange's web analytics and internal miscommunication.

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Covered California's website had about 514,000 unique visitors and more than five million pages views on Tuesday -- the first day of open enrollment -- the Sacramento Bee's "Capitol Alert" reports (

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Details of Exchange Launch

The online health insurance exchange opened for enrollment at 8 a.m. on Tuesday.

However, the exchange's home page took several minutes to load later in the day, and continued delays were reported throughout the enrollment process.

In a brief statement Tuesday night, exchange officials announced that the site would be taken offline until Wednesday morning for upgrades.

Roy Kennedy -- a spokesperson for Covered California -- said that the enrollment portal was back online by Wednesday at 10:45 a.m. (California Healthline, 10/3).

Website Data

Covered California Communications Director Oscar Hidalgo called the 514,000 unique visitors an "incredible number" ("Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 10/2).

 During the first day of open enrollment, the exchange also received:

  • 19,000 calls to its call center (Rauber, "Bay Area BizTalk," San Francisco Business Times, 10/3); and
  • 7,143 insurance applications ("Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 10/2).

Hidalgo said officials on Wednesday will release updated data on website hits and phone calls received during the first week of operations. Enrollment numbers are not expected to be released until mid-November (AP/Ventura County Star, 10/3).

Physician Directory Delayed

Meanwhile, a consolidated directory of doctors and hospitals affiliated with each exchange plan -- which officials said would be available Wednesday -- will not be posted until Monday or later.

Officials said the delay is the result of shifting technical resources to handle heavy traffic on the exchange site during the first days of open enrollment. However, they said the tool remains a priority.

Until the list is posted, the exchange is directing consumers to contact insurers directly to determine which doctors are included in health plans.

Anne Gonzalez -- a Covered California spokesperson -- said, "We would prefer people not have to make that extra step, and hopefully we will clear that up by Monday."

Some insurers -- such as Blue Shield of California and Anthem Blue Cross -- have updated their own provider lists to reflect exchange plans. However, Blue Shield spokesperson Steve Shivinsky said doing so is a "huge challenge," adding that the "exchange has just added another layer of complexity."

CMA Response to Physician Directory

The California Medical Association and other physician groups said they wanted more time to review the physician directory before it is released.

Physician groups also have expressed skepticism about Covered California's claim that 80% of state physicians are included in exchange plan networks.

Lisa Folberg -- vice president of CMA -- said, "Without the network directories, we really don't know. It's guesswork" (Terhune, Los Angeles Times, 10/3).

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