Massachusetts Plans to Replace Troubled Health Insurance Exchange
On the heels of Oregon’s decision to drop its dysfunctional health insurance site, Massachusetts officials announced plans to follow suit on Monday. Unlike Oregon, however, Massachusetts will be taking a different replacement route—instead of using HealthCare.gov to sign up enrollees, Massachusetts will attempt to build a new health marketplace site based on software used by Colorado and Kentucky.
While the state hopes to have this software from hCentive Inc. up and running by November 15th of this year, they will also connect to the federal exchange as a backup in case the new exchange software is not ready in time to handle enrollment next fall. The plan to implement the new software and connect to the federal exchange as a backup will cost an estimated $100 million, which is 30% lower than the estimated cost of repairing the current site.
The existing Massachusetts’ health exchange, originally created in 2006 and considered the model for the Affordable Care Act, has faced technical issues since enrollment began last October. Because of these difficulties many consumers had to resort to paper applications instead of applying online. Even now, the system is struggling to determine eligibility for about 190,000 enrollees, who in the meantime, have been temporarily placed on Medicaid.
See here for an earlier post on Oregon’s move to the federal exchange.