Maryland ends contract with health exchange provider
Maryland officials voted to end their contract with their health exchange provider and replace it with the company that fixed the federal health exchange.
“This transition will support the exchange’s goal of enrolling as many Marylanders as possible in quality, affordable health coverage by the close of open enrollment on March 31,” reads a statement from the board of the Maryland Health Exchange, which met Sunday night. “The exchange is preserving all rights to seek damages against Noridian and its subcontractors for problems with the IT system.”
Noridian will be replaced by Optum/QSSI, the same company the federal government brought in to fix HealthCare.gov after its bug-filled rollout Oct. 1.
Open enrollment ends March 31, leaving the state little time, especially if the site is so problematic that it needs to be rebuilt from scratch. The site crashed on its opening day and has faced problems ever since, including frozen pages and lost applications. According to an enrollment report released this month, 33,000 people have enrolled in private health plans. The enrollment goal is 70,000.
Isabel FitzGerald, secretary of the Department of Information Technology, recommended the change of providers.
Some of the state health exchanges, such as California’s and Kentucky’s, have done well. California has already met its enrollment goals for the year.
Others, such as in Oregon and Hawaii, have had to turn to paper enrollment processes because their websites have been so problematic. Both states’ exchange directors resigned in December. Hawaii’s site opened two weeks later than planned and had only 257 people enrolled in the first month. Oregon’s enrollments had to be processed by hand. Oregon launched a beta site this month that allows navigators to enroll people through a computer system. This month, Hawaii ranked last in the nation for enrollments.