Maryland Officially Dumps Problem-Plagued Exchange Website

by Andrew Johnson

After six months of problems with its website, Maryland has moved to ditch its current state-run health-care exchange. On Tuesday evening, the exchange’s board voted to replace its entire Maryland Health Connection system with the technology and software used by Connecticut for its state-run program.

“Our launch did not go as we had planned; our launch failed,” Governor Martin O’Malley said, according to the Baltimore Sun. “We don’t always succeed on our first try, but we don’t give up. And we usually hit our goals.”

The board’s vote comes the day after the national deadline for customers to enroll in a private insurance plan on the exchange to receive coverage this year. In part due to Maryland Health Connection’s problems, Maryland fell well short of its original goal of 150,000 enrollees; as of March 22, just 49,000 residents had enrolled.

Maryland spent more than $125 million to build its exchange, which failed to work immediately upon launch. According to the Washington Post, the website required hundreds of fixes and still doesn’t function properly, including failing to send users’ information to the correct location. The state fired the chief contractor in charge of building the system earlier this year.

The state has approximately seven months to implement the new system before open enrollment for 2015 begins on November 15. Maryland’s health secretary said he expects the federal government to approve of the decision and that they “will be paying a good part of” the $40 million to $50 million the new contact will require.

While it worked better than Maryland’s exchange, Connecticut’s Access Health CT experienced its share of glitches and problems with its website.