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Why Kentucky’s Health Exchange Works

. . .Though Ms. Tolbert said she wasn’t certain why the Kentucky site functioned more effectively, she speculated that one reason could be its somewhat pared-down design. It “doesn’t have all the bells and whistles that other states tried to incorporate,” like interactive features, she said. “It’s very straightforward in allowing consumers to browse plans without first creating an account.”

Joel Ario, a managing director at Manatt Health Solutions and a former Health and Human Services official, cited another potential factor: the grouping of many key state agencies, including the Department for Medicaid Services and the exchange office itself within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

“That may also be a virtue,” Mr. Ario said. “They know each other well. They’ve worked on a lot of projects together.”

State officials said the cabinet’s technology staff had recent experience setting up other complex systems, such as a prescription-drug monitoring database. They also had some pre-existing systems, including one for document management, that could be folded into the health exchange. . .

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