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Connecticut’s Health Insurance Exchange Works So Well, Officials Are Selling It to Other States

February 27, 2014
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Connecticut’s Health Insurance Exchange Works So Well, Officials Are Selling It to Other States
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State can now license or franchise an “exchange in a box” from Access Health CT.

Among the many faulty health insurance exchanges that entered the market late last year prior to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, there is one that could soon be considered the gold standard — and is carrying the stamp of approval from the Obama administration. Connecticut has had so much success with its Access Health CT exchange that it is setting up a consulting business to help other states build websites just like it. Call it an “exchange in a box”, but the hope is that states such as Maryland, Minnesota and Oregon — all of which were plagued by problems with their insurance websites — as well as any of the three dozen states that have been relying on the glitchy federal exchange will license or franchise at least some of Connecticut’s technologies in order to help their exchanges run smoother. “We realized that we had invented a better mousetrap,” Dr. Robert E. Scalettar, a board member on the Connecticut exchange, told the New York Times. “We could package our services and expertise and make them available to other states, promoting collaboration and avoiding a duplication of effort.”

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Under the plan, which was spearheaded by Kevin J. Counihan, chief executive of Access Health CT, states could set their own policies for their insurance exchanges while buying technology and other services, including eligibility determinations, enrollment assistance and call center operations, from Connecticut. “This would be an ideal solution for a state that does not like big government or does not want to hire a big new staff,” Counihan said. “You can get the benefits of a state-based marketplace without the headaches of building or staffing it yourself.” This way, states can use what’s worked for Connecticut to build a website that will work better for citizens, without needing to start from scratch. And in Connecticut, the numbers don’t lie. About 55,000 people have signed up for private health insurance through Access Health CT since October, far exceeding the goal state officials set with still a month to go before the end of open enrollment. You know what they say, if it’s not broken, then sell it.

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