State insurance website down for maintenance

The state’s troubled health insurance website was taken down for scheduled maintenance Wednesday afternoon, with about two weeks remaining for those who need it to secure coverage by Jan. 1. The Massachusetts Health Connector said the website would be up and running again early Thursday morning.

Spokesman Jason Lefferts declined to answer questions about the cause of the shutdown or what functions were expected to be fixed when the site returns.

The health insurance website has had widespread problems such as locking users out of their accounts, prompting confusing error messages, delaying page loading times, and preventing users from being able to make payments online.

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“We are pushing the IT vendor responsible for the site to upgrade the system as quickly as possible, and today’s scheduled site shut-down for maintenance is part of that work,” Lefferts wrote in an e-mail. “This is a short-term disruption for online consumers, that we anticipate in the long-term will lead to a better user experience.”

Coverage has been extended for about 126,000 people who must re-enroll, but who are already on a plan subsidized by the state, meaning they have until the end of March to complete an application through the website. But thousands of other people whose health plans end this month or who have been uninsured are relying on the Connector for coverage to start Jan. 1.