Problems plague health insurance website on deadline day

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The website was down early Monday, and later, new users couldn't create accounts for a while. It was deadline day, and even those who already had accounts encountered long waits to pick plans.

Barron Gibbs and a navigator at the Shepherd's Center sat listening to music coming from the phone. They're on hold for the call center after hitting a brick wall at

"It says sorry. It's not accepting it," said Gibbs.

It wasn't accepting the identification number Gibbs already has.

"We can't really help him choose a plan until we can get into his application," said Joyce White, the navigator.

Minutes turned into a little over an hour. Then, they heard a live voice.

"I have to do my best to explain the plans to you," the voice at the call center told Gibbs.

Gibbs learned that because he completed his application over the phone, he'll need to pick his plan there, too.

He's ahead of others who waited until deadline day. They found a website that was erratic. Navigators say you should at least try to set up your account by 10:59 p.m. central time on Monday.

That means you'll get an extension. Seymour says if you go through the call center, hang on. If there's extremely high call volume, you should be able to leave your name and number.

"Don't hang up and try again later. Just simply do that and we're told that will ensure that you're registered as trying to enroll by the 31st," said Seymour.

Gibbs picked a plan. With a subsidy, his premium will be $87 a month.

"Very happy, very pleased," he said.

The navigator congratulated him. Persistence and patience paid off.

The Obama Administration said a record number of people were trying to use the website Monday, more than 100,000 at a time.

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