It took Clifford Brown until about noon Wednesday to finally access California's online health insurance exchange. Even then, he got as far as creating an account but still couldn't log in.

"If my mother was trying this, she would have quit by now,'' said Brown, a 32-year-old musician and independent producer who lives in Emeryville. He hoped for greater success later in the day or by Thursday morning.

It didn't help that for two hours Wednesday morning, the enrollment function on the Covered California website was shut down after logos of some of the health plans did not appear because of a computer glitch, according to spokesman Larry Hicks.

Call operators answer phones on the first day of Obamacare at an eHealthInsurance Services Inc. call center in Sacramento, California, U.S., on Tuesday,
Call operators answer phones on the first day of Obamacare at an eHealthInsurance Services Inc. call center in Sacramento, California, U.S., on Tuesday, Oct. 1 2013. The Obamacare insurance exchanges struggled to handle a flood of consumer interest that closed the U.S. website for much of the day, and caused start up delays for most of the marketplaces run by the states. (Ken James/Bloomberg)

Brown later found out that was the reason he couldn't access the site during that time. But even when he tried around noon Wednesday, he got an error message and could not proceed.

Around the country Wednesday, similar problems with overloaded websites and jammed phone lines continued to frustrate consumers for a second day as they tried to sign up for coverage using the new marketplaces.

Hicks said the Covered California exchange continues to work on improving the site (www.coveredca.com). He noted that 7,143 applications for insurance were started on Tuesday, and the same day 19,000 calls were logged by the exchange's two call centers.

But a corresponding list of doctors and hospitals affiliated with each plan, which Hicks had said would be posted online by Wednesday, still had not appeared. Nor had a list of Covered California certified insurance agents or certified enrollment agents to assist consumers around the state.

Hicks said the names of providers will be loaded onto the website when it's not being heavily used. He said he could not be more specific about timing.

In some ways, the delays that continued Wednesday were good news for President Barack Obama and supporters of his signature domestic policy achievement because the difficulties showed what appeared to be an exceptionally high level of interest in the overhauled insurance system. But if the glitches aren't fixed quickly, they could dampen enthusiasm for the law at a time Republicans are using it as a rallying cry to force most of the federal government to shut down.

In the 36 states being operated fully or partially by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, consumer patience was still being tested.

Agency spokeswoman Joanne Peters said many Americans successfully enrolled in health insurance on the first day through the federal healthcare.gov website, but she declined to put a number on it. She said the delays were due to "overwhelming interest" and high volume.

It's not as if nobody was warned. Just three months ago, the Government Accountability Office said a smooth and timely rollout could not be guaranteed because the online system was still getting finishing touches and had not been fully tested.

The Obama administration shrugged off the evaluation.

The bumpy debut has the hallmarks of a technology project that may have rushed to meet the Oct. 1 deadline, said Bill Curtis, chief scientist at CAST, a software quality analysis firm, and director of the Consortium for IT Software Quality, which develops standards.

"When you are in a rush, you typically make a lot of mistakes, and you don't have time to test them all out," he said.

High volume can also expose software flaws that were not detected in testing, like the recurring problem consumers encountered trying to set up accounts on the federal site, Curtis said. Drop-down menus that were supposed to provide security questions did not work.

Back in the Bay Area, Brown said he'll be patient with the exchange, and for good reason.

He's been uninsured since 2008, the last time his health insurance was paid for by an employer. After he started his own company, he said, the rates for premiums he'd been quoted -- about $1,000 a month -- were too expensive to consider paying.

"Until this health care plan, there was no real route for someone like me to get health insurance," Brown said.

He and his longtime girlfriend -- who is insured through her employer -- plan to marry next year but had considered pushing up the wedding so he could be added to her policy.

"I didn't think it was going to take this long" for the exchange to work, Brown said. "But it's going to dramatically change my life.''

The Associated Press contributed to this report. Contact Tracy Seipel at 408-275-0140. Follow her at Twitter.com@taseipel.