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Obamacare website to be down again for maintenance late Saturday

A man looks over the Affordable Care Act (commonly known as Obamacare) signup page on the HealthCare.gov website in New York in this October
A man looks over the Affordable Care Act (commonly known as Obamacare) signup page on the HealthCare.gov website in New York in this October

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The glitch-ridden website used to sign up for insurance under President Barack Obama's healthcare law will be down for "extended maintenance" overnight on Saturday, the Department of Health and Human Services said.

The website has been plagued by technology problems and has not worked reliably since its launch on October 1, embarrassing the administration and providing ammunition for Republicans seeking to roll back the law known as Obamacare.

The application, enrollment tools, and "data hub" will not be available from about 9 p.m. ET on Saturday (0100 Sunday GMT) until 9 a.m. ET (1400 GMT) on Sunday, a spokeswoman for the department said in a statement, telling consumers they can call a toll-free call center to apply for insurance in the meantime.

"The HealthCare.gov tech team is performing extended maintenance this weekend to improve network infrastructure and make enhancements to the online application and enrollment tools," said Joanne Peters, the spokeswoman.

The administration has said it will fix the site by the end of this month. The government hopes that about 7 million people enroll for insurance by the end of March under the law passed in Obama's first term to expand access to health insurance and require that people have coverage or pay a fine.

The administration said it expects early enrollment numbers to be low, in part because of the website's problems. Documents released this week by a U.S. House of Representatives committee showed only 248 Americans had signed up in the first three days the site was running.

The administration has said it will not release enrollment statistics until mid-November.

(Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Editing by Vicki Allen)

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