Members of Congress and Capitol Hill staffers looking to enroll in the health care exchanges this weekend will have to wait until Saturday night, as the website administering enrollment is down for maintenance. The enrollment period for congressional employees began on Nov. 10 and ends on Dec. 8.
"During this outage, important maintenance work is taking place that will resolve a variety of different issues employees have been seeing," read a message sent to Senate staffers Friday morning, which also noted the website, also known as DC Health Link, was unavailable beginning Thursday evening. A DC Health Link spokesman said the maintenance would be complete by 8 p.m. Saturday.
The spokesman said the website was unavailable due to a data update. Before individuals can renew their health care coverage, the Affordable Care Act requires the data to be refreshed to verify that the individuals are still eligible for their plans.
"The data refresh requires the on-line portal to be unavailable for a brief period of time," the spokesman wrote in an email to CQ Roll Call. "The maintenance period of the on-line portal also impacts the small business marketplace customer accounts including small businesses and congressional employees."
DC Health Link is also in the process of correcting information for employee accounts.
"Although enrollment is correct, we identified a set of employee accounts that did not reflect correct information because of multiple old applications," wrote the spokesman. "We have already successfully resolved some accounts; today’s update is expected to correct the remaining accounts."
For Hill staffers, the notice that the website was down may have brought on some unwelcome déjà vu. Glitches with DC Health Link during the first enrollment process last year caused headaches on Capitol Hill and resulted in an extension for the enrollment deadline .
Since the Affordable Care Act took effect last year, congressional health care has been a target for those aiming to dismantle the president's signature legislation. In, October, the conservative group Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit challenging Congress' small business status in enrollment. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., is also in an ongoing legal battle arguing that lawmakers and Hill staffers should not be granted employer contributions.
Niels Lesniewski contribute to this report. Related: Health Insurance for Congress and Staff: It’s Complicated Obamacare Lawsuit Challenges Congress’ ‘Small Business’ Status House Staff Members Are Signing Up for Obamacare, Figures Show Roll Call Results Map: Results and District Profiles for Every Seat Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.