Outages, repairs planned for HealthCare.gov through Saturday night

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(CNN) — HealthCare.gov, the beleaguered Obamacare federal insurance exchange website, will be down for “extended maintenance” Saturday night as a government technology team works to correct the problems that have plagued it over the past month.

Health and Human Services spokeswoman Joanne Peters said the maintenance aims to “improve network infrastructure and make enhancements to the online application and enrollment tools.”

As a result, warned Peters, “The Federal Data Services Hub and FFM application and enrollment tools will be unavailable” from 9 p.m. Saturday to 9 a.m. Sunday.

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the agency behind the website’s launch and subsequent repairs, has taken the site down in the past for improvements, usually overnight.

In a conference call with reporters Friday, Jeffrey Zients, the project’s lead coordinator, said his team made improvements over the past week, focusing on increasing the speed and functionality of the application process and working to address issues with “834” notices — crucial data the site must send to insurance companies in order for customers to be enrolled.

“The site will get better week by week,” said Zients, “and by the end of November, the site will work smoothly for the vast majority of users.”

While the site is down, the Department of Health and Human Services is directing people to apply by phone.

–By CNN’s Political Unit. CNN’s Gregory Wallace contributed to this report

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