Citing vague references to technical issues ("providing additional flexibility and time to handle technical requests"), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has delayed approval of the health insurance policies to be sold by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Marketplaces beginning Oct. 1.

Originally slated for Sept. 5-9, the approval/signing process will now take place in mid-September at the earliest.

HHS spokesperson Joanne Peters nonetheless told Reuters that the agency remains "on track to open" the marketplaces on time.

News of the delay follows word that two states — Oregon and California — will be unable to sell health plans online when the marketplaces open, and also amid reports that the federal online system is rife with security issues.

Approval of the policies hinges on the plans' ability to meet criteria set forth in the ACA; after approval, the companies must then sign a contract with the federal government.