U.S. expects to fix Obamacare Internet problems within 'hours'

Members of ADAPT, a grassroots disability rights group that supports Obamacare, march in Washington during the U.S. government shutdown October 1, 2013. REUTERS/Gary Cameron

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Unexpectedly high Internet traffic volumes spawned delays on the first day of operations for federally operated Obamacare health insurance marketplaces, but the problems would be resolved within hours, an official said on Tuesday.

The official said the online system set up to serve uninsured consumers in 36 U.S. states was functioning but that slow speeds and problems loading pages were due to high volumes. "We expect to resolve these issues in the coming hours," the official said.

The Department of Health and Human Services issued a statement saying more than 1 million people had visited the system's website, HealthCare.gov, in the past day, sparking a five-fold increase in Tuesday's volume.

(Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)