PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The state of Rhode Island was forced to shut down the online customer portal of its new benefits eligibility program on Friday as it worked to fix a technical issue.
HealthSource RI Director Zachary Sherman said about 27,000 residents have signed up for coverage during the state’s open enrollment period so far, but those looking to access their accounts Friday were met with a message saying the website was down for maintenance.
“It’s a real-time issue that involves a technical problem that we’re still trying to confirm,” said Dept. of Administration Director Michael DiBiase.
DiBiase said he expects to have the website back online by Saturday morning.
Officials from the Department of Health and Human Services said Friday that almost the entire backlog of benefits applications has been registered into the UHIP system, allowing them to get a better idea of what needs to get done.
DiBiase said their main priority is to clear the backlog of applications for food stamp benefits.
The federal government demanded a corrective action plan to be submitted by Nov. 22 in the wake of long lines and call wait times and underpayments of benefits.
Since the system went live in September, the state has not run a check to make sure people who are receiving benefits are actually eligible. The first check on the new system is slated to be completed Dec. 1.
‘That means on Dec. 1 a number of people will no longer be eligible for appropriate reasons,” DiBiase added.
Depena said HealthSource RI fielded about 9,300 calls this week and customers had an average wait time of about two minutes.