Another one bites the dust: Nevada’s ObamaCare exchange director resigns

posted at 8:01 pm on February 20, 2014 by Erika Johnsen

Nevada’s independently designed online ObamaCare exchange hasn’t been quite the unmitigated disaster on the level of, say, Oregon’s zero-functionality website, but the Silver State has certainly had its own unique slew of technological glitches and processing problems. Just last week, the state drastically lowered their enrollment targets to less than half of their initial projections, moving the goalposts from 118,000 signups by March 31st to just 50,000. I’d guess that even that might be a little on the optimistic side, seeing as how only 24,000 had selected plans on the exchange as of early February, and of those, only about 16,000 have actually paid their premiums to ensure coverage.

Meeting lower enrollment targets for Nevada’s online health insurance exchange will still be challenging as the system continues to grapple with website and call center issues, a state official said Thursday.

“It has been a difficult month,” Jon Hager, executive director of the exchange, said in a report to the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange board. “We have had website problems, long wait times at the call center, frustrated partners, frustrated consumers and low enrollment.”

Hager outlined immediate goals that reflect issues that have plagued the system from the start: Fix the website and fix the call center.

But Hager won’t be there to oversee those attempted fixes, because he just joined the ex-directors of Minnesota, Maryland, Hawaii, and Oregon among the ranks of the resigned. Via the Las Vegas Review-Journal:

The executive director of the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange is resigning.

Jon Hager, who came under fire in a Feb. 13 exchange board meeting for cutting March 31 enrollment goals from 118,000 to 50,000, left the agency Thursday afternoon.

Board members told Hager in their meeting that it was time to put together a “disaster recovery plan” to help fix technical problems that have plagued the exchange’s Nevada Health Link website since it launched on Oct. 1.

As for that “disaster recovery plan,” the board is looking at firing Xerox, the contractor that designed the website, as well as straight-up scrapping the effort and joining the federal health exchange — which might be their best option. Their state exchange’s operations are being funded through federal grants this year, but that funding expires in 2015, and Gov. Sandoval has already said that he won’t use state general funds to keep it going. Oof.


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