Brokers and buyers in several states still wonder what the public exchanges will be like.

Some state-based exchanges had their websites working well at least by early afternoon.

In Colorado, for example, the Connect for Health Colorado exchange’s website worked smoothly this afternoon. A visitor who simply wanted to see what plans might be available could put in an age and a ZIP code and see a list of available plans.

A visitor accustomed to using Amazon to shop for books could apply slider filters to, for example, narrow the results to include an annual out-of-pocket maximum of just $3,000 per family per year.

The full retail price for a single 48-year-old who signed up for that plan would be about $429 per month.

Meanwhile, for brokers in states with federally run exchanges that have been stingy about releasing exchange plan information, website problems at the main U.S. Department of Health and Human Services exchange site – HealthCare.gov – left visitors who just wanted to see the exchange plan menu staring at a screen that said, “Health Insurance Marketplace: Please wait.”

“We have a lot of visitors on our site right now and we’re working to make your experience here better,” exchange program managers said in the message. “Please wait here until we send you to the login page. Thanks for your patience!”

When a visitor got to the rare privilege of going to a log in page, the system seemed to require a visitor to set up a full-blown account, with a user name and a password, before letting the visitor see whether, for example, the HHS-run New Jersey exchange sells stand-alone dental plans designed for adults.

When this visitor used the account creation tool, the page for setting up password recovery security questions had no questions a visitor could use to complete the password recovery section and no obvious way for the visitor to get past that problem to see if the New Jersey exchange will sell stand-alone dental plans.

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius noted that the HealthCare.gov site was experiencing extremely heavy traffic and that site managers are happy to see such strong interest in the exchange program.

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