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Cloud-based version of Healthcare.gov may save states after King v. Burwell

Fast, inexpensive deployment could let states set up exchanges, offer subsidized coverage

States that find themselves in need of an insurance exchange in the wake of the King v. Burwell verdict may be in luck thanks to a cloud-based version of Healthcare.gov, according to CIO.com.

If the Supreme Court strikes down subsidies for health plans sold on the federal exchange, residents of 34 states may lose the subsidized coverage granted to them under the Affordable Care Act.

For states that want to create an exchange and therefore offer subsidized insurance, the answer may stem from the Healthcare.gov redesign in late 2013, CIO.com said. In addition to fixing various Healthcare.gov glitches, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) redesigned the federal exchange to run on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) clusters as a Software as a Service application, the article said.

So far, Arizona, New Mexico and Oregon have launched state exchanges running on EC2 clusters, an HHS spokesman told CIO.com. The process is akin to rolling out cloud-based sales management or payroll software, the article noted, and it doesn't take long--seven months in New Mexico and six months in Oregon.

In addition, implementing a cloud-based version of Healthcare.gov is significantly cheaper that the alternative. When Cover Oregon made the switch to Healthcare.gov, officials said the migration would cost up to $6 million, compared to $78 million to fix a site plagued with technical problems, FierceHealthPayer previously reported.

The HHS spokesman declined to say how many other states are considering this option. Delaware and Pennsylvania, neither of which currently run a state exchange, are exploring ways to use pieces of both the Healthcare.gov website and call center to set up their own exchange. In addition, switching to a cloud-based version of Healthcare.gov could be an attractive option for cash-strapped state exchanges, which under the ACA can no longer use federal funding in 2015 and must be financially sustainable.

For more:
- read the CIO.com article

Related Articles:
Two states may have found workaround if ACA subsidies found illegal
Optum pulls out of Healthcare.gov project
GAO rips Healthcare.gov for continued flaws
State exchanges still plagued by financial challenges
Oregon makes the switch to Healthcare.gov