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Deadline dash: Health care sign-ups amid glitches

Monday - 3/31/2014, 4:50pm  ET

WASHINGTON (AP) -- There's been a flood of last-minute applicants to HealthCare.gov with the midnight deadline for enrollment just hours away.

The federal online marketplace for insurance coverage had recorded 1.2 million visitors by noon today, despite a couple of glitches. The website was out of service for nearly four hours this morning as technicians patched a software bug. Another hiccup this afternoon temporarily kept new applicants from signing up, but that too was resolved.

Officials say the system has been operating at full capacity, with more than 125,000 people at a time using it.

The White House is hoping an enrollment surge will push sign-ups to around 6.5 million people.

Among the unknowns about the enrollment numbers, however, is how many people were previously uninsured. That's considered the real test of Obama's health care overhaul.

While today is the last day officially to sign up, millions of people are potentially eligible for extensions granted by the administration.

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172-c-16-(Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, AP correspondent)-"interest and usage"-AP correspondent Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar reports the Obama administration says more than one million people have been trying to sign up for health care today, and there've been a few glitches. (31 Mar 2014)

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173-c-16-(Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, AP correspondent)-"application on healthcare.gov"-AP correspondent Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar reports the government's health care website is being pushed hard. (31 Mar 2014)

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175-a-14-(Francesca Latawiec (lah-TAH'-vee-ehtz), community college adjunct professor of ecology and supermarket bagger, in AP interview at New England College)-"you have to"-Francesca Latawiec in New Hampshire says she put off getting health insurance because she felt she couldn't afford the monthly premium. (Latawiec says she finally decided to enroll because she was afraid of the tax penalty if she didn't.) (31 Mar 2014)

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177-a-08-(Dan Walsh, health marketplace assister, New Hampshire Foundation for Healthy Communities, in AP interview at New England College)-"doing my best"-New Hampshire health marketplace assistant Dan Walsh says he's been getting calls all day from people wanting help to sign up. (31 Mar 2014)

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174-c-20-(Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, AP correspondent)-"and complete it"-AP correspondent Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar has this reminder that people who are still unable to finish signing up for health insurance will be allowed a grace period after today's deadline. (31 Mar 2014)

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176-a-13-(Francesca Latawiec (lah-TAH'-vee-ehtz), community college adjunct professor of ecology and supermarket bagger, in AP interview at New England College)-"in the queue"-Francesca Latawiec in New Hampshire says the HealthCare.gov website stopped working while she was trying to sign up. (31 Mar 2014)

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167-a-06-(Greg Keith, Dallas, Texas resident signing up for health insurance through Healthcare.gov, in AP interview)-"the least expensive"-Greg Keith in Dallas says he's looking for a low-cost policy, and is just starting to shop. (31 Mar 2014)

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166-a-05-(Greg Keith, Dallas, Texas resident signing up for health insurance through Healthcare.gov, in AP interview)-"I'm a procrastinator (laughs)"-Greg Keith in Dallas says he knows he waited until the last minute to sign up, and has no good excuse. (31 Mar 2014)

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APPHOTO MOJR105: Ryan Witt hangs a sign outside Cover Lemay, a St. Louis-area nonprofit, offering assistance signing up for health insurance as the deadline to enroll under the Affordable Care Act approaches, Monday, March 31, 2014, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson) (31 Mar 2014)

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APPHOTO RISS104: Meg Ivatti, right, control center leader for HealthSource RI works with customer engagement specialist Dianiri Paulino to help a caller sign up for health insurance in Providence, R.I., Monday, March 31, 2014. Monday is the open enrollment deadline for signing up for insurance under the health care act. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia) (31 Mar 2014)

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APPHOTO SC106: Maria Klemm works on her cross-stitching as she waits to sign up for health care coverage at a registration site hosted by Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers, Monday, March 31, 2014, in Sacramento, Calif. Klemm, 47, was among the dozens who attended the event to sign up for health coverage ahead of Monday's midnight enrollment deadline. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli) (31 Mar 2014)

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