Will Any Other States Join the Federal Obamacare Exchange? Probably Not.
Cover Oregon's board of directors voted unanimously today to abandon their dysfunctional state-run exchange for the federal exchange. That makes it the first state to admit technological defeat, but likely the last to switch to the federal exchange for now.
Cover Oregon's board of directors voted unanimously on Friday to abandon Oregon's dysfunctional state-run exchange for the federal Obamacare exchange, according to The Washington Post. That makes it the first state to admit technological defeat, but likely the last to switch to the federal exchange for now. The other four struggling exchanges — in Maryland, Hawaii, Minnesota, and Massachusetts — are either developing plans to improve their sites or, in Maryland's case, adopting software from another state-run exchange. Here's how the other, slightly less troubled state exchanges are faring:
Maryland Health Connection
Maryland voted at the end of March to abandon its software and adopting Connecticut's, The Baltimore Sun reports. Now the exchange is mostly a political problem — Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown is running for governor, and his Democratic opponent likes to remind everyone that he was in charge of the $129 million disaster of a site. Maryland's exchange did manage to enroll 313,000 individuals in private and Medicaid plans, however.
Chances of being scrapped: It depends. The state didn't get approval from the federal government before voting to switch, and the government hasn't decided if it will give the state the $40 million to $50 million it needs to make the transition, according to The Washington Post.
Hawaii Health Connector
The main contractor behind Hawaii's exchange was CGI, the Canadian company that was fired by the federal government earlier this year. Last week the Government Accountability Office announced that it would look into how the exchange spent its $204 million grant from the feds. At the end of March, Rep. Darrell Issa and the House Oversight Committee wrote a letter to Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie stating that the exchange had several security vulnerabilities.
Hawaii's big problem now is that it's now struggling to pay for the exchange. The 2 percent tax on enrollments was supposed to financially support the exchange, but only 8,000 people enrolled (out of an expected 50,000).
Chances of being scrapped: The state isn't looking into it.
After a rough couple of months, MNSure eventually managed to enroll more than 200,000 people in private plans and Medicaid/CHIP, about 64,000 more than planned, the Pioneer Press reported on Wednesday. Still, the exchange is a little wobbly, and experience more problems at the end of last month as interest picked up near the deadline.
The problem isn't the front end user experience, but the back end processes which, "still rely on time-consuming manual processes, including the important handoff between MNsure and insurance carriers," according to the Star Tribune. "Those unresolved issues led to confusion during the enrollment process and delays for people getting their insurance cards."
Chances of being scrapped: Low. MNSure just hired Deloitte on for a nine-month, $4.95 million contract to fix the short-term problems and figure out a plan going forward, the Tribune reports.
Massachusetts Health Connector
Another victim of the CGI Group, Massachusetts announced it was cutting ties with the company last month and hopes to have a moderately functional, but not perfect, exchange later this year. ‘‘We are not going to have everything we want for the fall,’’ Sarah Iselin, the health care executive assigned to fixing the exchange, told the Associated Press earlier this month. According to the Post, state representatives will meet with the federal government sometime next week.
Chances of being scrapped: Lowish. Iselin will approach the board with a plan for improving the exchange next month, but a more "robust" site won't be available until sometime next year.