In the meantime, Ms. Pearson said, it should not be hard for the Obama administration to reach its six-month target of 7 million enrollments on the exchanges.
Yet, she added, Republicans will scrutinize plans that are affordable at first glance but carry high out-of-pocket costs and do not offer the same protections as employer-based insurance.
Confusion about the law is another hurdle, a concept underscored by a Gallup poll released Monday that found slightly more than half of uninsured Americans are “not at all familiar” with the exchanges and only 5 percent are “very familiar” with them.
Computer-based hiccups also are delaying facets of the enrollment experience, which has been compared to shopping for plane tickets or hotel rooms via online travel sites.
Mila Kofman, executive director of the D.C. Health Benefit Exchange Authority, said a feature on the individual market exchange that lets people get accurate calculations of any premium assistance for which they qualify may not be available until early November, although consumers still can sign up and compare the costs of plans before subsidies.
She said enrollment on the D.C. exchange likely will be heaviest during the first two weeks of December and the last two weeks of March.
“We’re using the month of October to really educate people,” she said.