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Ignoring CMS, CT Readies its HIX for Small Business

Jacqueline Fellows, for HealthLeaders Media, April 24, 2013

Connecticut is going to be up and running on 10/1. Is it going to be running perfectly? No. Will we have contingency plans for it? Yes. I do think that this is a three-year project being moved into 10 months, and I got called by a pretty low level person at the White House about two months ago asking what they could do to help.

I said, "Give us another year." The integrated eligibility piece is very complex. It's never been done before like this. I'm very pleased with the progress we've made.

HLM: Do you have qualified health plans ready and willing to participate?

KC: We've received nonbinding letters of intent from five health plans. We're waiting to see by the end of April who firmly commits. It's a very complicated decision. Our strategy has been to be very collaborative with the plans. We don't believe in being top-down heavy or highly prescriptive, so we brought them in early to look at things such as eligibility formatting and data submission guidelines, and they've appreciated it.

That goes a long way in terms of building partnerships with [them]. We view ourselves as fundamentally a distribution channel that encourages informed choice, ease and simplicity of shopping, and a means to leverage our enrollment to start helping promote the discussion of lowering costs. So, if we had three to four health plans commit, I'd be very happy, and I think we'll get there.

Jacqueline Fellows is an editor for HealthLeaders Media.
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