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Flawed exchanges shift focus to improving processes


Several states, including Maryland, Oregon and Massachusetts, suffered major technical difficulties with their health insurance exchanges and now must take actions to improve their websites before the next enrollment period. If they don't, insurers will likely continue to see low enrollment numbers in those states, reported the Los Angeles Times.

Maryland, which likely represents the biggest marketplace flop in the country, has been plagued with technical glitches despite spending $125.5 million to operate. Maryland lawmakers considered switching to the federal exchange, but instead settled on using Connecticut's technology platform, which has been one of the exchange successes.

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services still needs to approve Maryland's plans, which could cost up to $50 million, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Meanwhile, Oregon officials are considering ways to improve the state's faulty exchange website, including replacing it with the HealthCare.gov website. The state recently split with the main website builder, Oracle Corp., while several Cover Oregon staff members resigned, reported The Oregonian. Before open enrollment even began, the Oregon exchange website was providing inaccurate information causing problems like calculating incorrect deductibles,

Elsewhere, Massachusetts officials will decide next steps for its online marketplace by mid-April, while Hawaii lawmakers consider imposing a "sustainability fee" on medical and dental plans to pay for the $15 million needed to operate its marketplace, the LA Times noted.

To learn more:
- read the Los Angeles Times article
- see the Wall Street Journal article
- check out The Oregonian article

Related Articles:
State-based exchanges may join HealthCare.gov
3 reasons Minnesota's exchange failed
Exchanges can learn from enrollment success in California
Maryland exchange still struggles with IT glitches
Health exchanges a mixed bag for states
State exchanges bogged down by technical difficulties, too