Massachusetts health officials announced last week that it will replace its health insurance exchange website. According to media reports, the current website has had difficulty implementing the federal health laws (i.e., Obamacare), because it was designed to comply with state health laws (i.e., Romneycare). As a result, approximately 190,000 individuals have been put on temporary Medicaid plans until state regulators can determine the proper coverages. Massachusetts intends to implement new software provided by hCentive, Inc. (“hCentive”) after a determination was made that it would cost more to fix its current software provided by CGI Group Inc. (“CGI”). CGI is best known as the company that developed the federal exchange system.
It is anticipated that the new system will be in place for the next open-enrollment period, which begins on November 15, 2014. If that goal is not met, then Massachusetts will connect to the federal exchange website for the upcoming year. Other states that have had difficulty operating their own exchange websites have adopted the hCentive software or moved to the federal exchange system. Some commentators have expressed concerns about the impact this dual-track approach will have on taxpayers as, according to media reports, the cost has been estimated at $121.1 million and Massachusetts previously spent $57 million on the prior exchange website. To view hCentive’s press release, click here.