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Maryland Health Insurance Exchange still not Finished




Maryland has officially punted and is using a copy of the Connecticut health insurance exchange for its market needs to implement The Affordable Care Act, or ObamaCare.  According to reports, it is being furnished for free.  But taxpayers, both American and Maryland, should not get too excited as a great deal of state and Federal money has already been wasted. As noted by an article in The Washington Post by Jenna Johnson, “The format is simple and easy to navigate, allowing Connecticut residents to browse health insurance plans before creating an account. More importantly, the system properly relays enrollment information to insurance companies and the federal government, making real the Affordable Care Act’s vision of quickly insuring tens of thousands of previously uninsured people.” Why couldn’t Maryland, like Oregon and Massachusetts, pull that off? Johnson notes in her piece, “Maryland looks to Connecticut for heath exchange answers,” that “…Maryland is racing through a rebuild of its site, using a free copy of Connecticut’s creation. Federal officials are closely watching and want Maryland to provide evidence that the site will work when the next enrollment period opens Nov. 15. The next major check-in must happen by June 15.” Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley stated that the reason his state floundered with the Maryland Health Connection site while Access Health CT Web site worked so well for Connecticut is that, “…it hired the wrong companies to build the system. Connecticut officials say their exchange was a success because they fostered an environment that’s more like a tech start-up than a government agency — having a realistic plan for what they could build on such a tight deadline.” The enrollment amount in Maryland is one of the lowest in the country.  Connecticut’s software was free was it was paid for with taxpayer funds.   It remains to be seen if the program will work as well in Maryland as it does in Connecticut due to the differences in the states.


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