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Maryland exchange still struggles with IT glitches


Maryland officials continue to struggle to make the state's health insurance exchange operable--and one state lawmaker wants to switch to the federal marketplace while the state sorts out the technical problems.

Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) said a glitch recently left up to 5,000 people thinking they were fully enrolled even though they weren't. So O'Malley is working on legislation that would help rectify the glitch and ensure affected consumers can still have the insurance protection they thought they enrolled in, reported Live Insurance News.

But that's not enough for Rep. John Delaney (D), who has asked the state whether it can temporarily use the federal website, HealthCare.gov, to enroll consumers while state officials fix the Maryland Health Connection, the Wall Street Journal reported.

In an open letter, Delaney called on O'Malley to explain the technical feasibility of making the switch, according to the Baltimore Sun. "I understand that my idea of transitioning to the federal website may contain challenges that I am underestimating and it may not, in fact, be feasible," Delaney wrote. "For this reason, I am asking for a specific analysis from you as to the 'pros and cons' of switching to the federal exchange for all or part of the Maryland interface."

Meanwhile, even so-called successful and smoothly operating state exchanges are facing hiccups. Computer glitches in California, for example, mean officials still are sorting through paper applications, which is why the state delayed the payment deadline to Jan. 15, reported the Los Angeles Times.

"We did receive a flood of applications before the deadline, so we are working at top speed to process all those and get them through the pipeline," Covered California Spokeswoman Anne Gonzales told the newspaper. "We understand people are waiting, and we are going as quickly as possible on our end."

To learn more:
- read the Live Insurance News article
- see the Wall Street Journal article
- read the Baltimore Sun article
- check out the Los Angeles Times article

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Some health exchanges are better than others
Why state exchange leaders surrender
State exchanges bogged down by technical difficulties, too