HIX Success Could Generate Add-On Revenue for CT

Christopher Cheney, April 22, 2014

To fix its "deeply flawed" website, the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange is turning to Access Health CT. Now CT officials are mulling offering similar services to other state exchanges—for a fee.

Joshua Sharfstein

Joshua Sharfstein
Secretary of the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

Officials at the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange have been grappling with a problem-plagued website and are planning to retool their existing platform with software code from the Access Health CT, the Connecticut health insurance exchange.

"Our goal is to have the Connecticut upgrade complete and fully installed before the [next] open enrollment in the fall," Joshua Sharfstein, secretary of the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, said Friday. He called the Connecticut exchange's website "well-designed and successful."

"Our main focus has been on the technology," Sharfstein said of top Maryland officials associated with the state's exchange, which surpassed its 260,000 resident target for 2014 enrollment.

In a memo to the Maryland exchange's board of directors dated March 31, state officials including Sharfstein recommend using the Connecticut exchange's website code with "only minor retrofitting for branding, notices, interfaces (including with carriers and with the Medicaid system), and to accommodate Maryland-specific rules."

Sharfstein, state IT Secretary Isabel FitzGerald and Carolyn Quattrocki, acting director of the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange, note in the memo that the state's existing HIX website "has improved dramatically since December." But acknowledge that a rebuild is necessary: "Despite these efforts to improve the system, it remains deeply flawed."

Christopher Cheney

Christopher Cheney is the senior finance editor at HealthLeaders Media.

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