Oct 1, 2013 11:30 PM by Connie Murphy
CHICAGO (AP) - Americans have six months in which to enroll in the online health insurance marketplaces that are at the heart of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul -- but it looks like a lot of people are wasting no time in doing so.
Health officials say at least 2.8 million people visited the main healthcare.gov website by this afternoon. They're not saying how many people succeeded in signing up for coverage, but many frustrated users reported having trouble setting up accounts on state and federal government websites.
Administration officials say they are pleased with the strong consumer interest.
Minnesota got its site running after a delay of several hours. Rhode Island's site recovered after a temporary crash. In Obama's home state of Illinois, dozens of people who went to a public health office in Champaign to sign up for coverage found computer screens flashing an error message saying the system was unavailable.
The Obama administration hopes to sign up 7 million people during the first year, and aims to eventually sign up at least half of the nearly 50 million uninsured Americans through an expansion of Medicaid or government-subsidized plans.