Single, glaring flaw in Maryland’s exchange might mean $30 million in excess Medicaid payments
posted at 3:21 pm on February 27, 2014 by Erika Johnsen
Earlier this week, the state of Maryland finally gave the boot to the contractor that designed them an ObamaCare exchange so glitch-riddled it’s had them considering whether they shouldn’t temporarily-or-permanently shift the states’ residents onto the federal exchange. They still don’t have a complete solution for how they’re going to fix or replaced the crummy system, but heck, it’s something, via CNBC:
Some may say it’s a couple of months late and $65 million short, but Maryland finally fired the contractor that designed its botched Obamacare exchange.
To replace the ousted Noridian Healthcare Solutions, the state chose UnitedHealth Group subsidiary Optum/QSSI as the prime IT contractor on its health-care website on an interim basis.
The site hired Optum/QSSI in December to oversee repair efforts, after the federal government in October promoted the company to general contractor to fix its crippled Obamacare site, HealthCare.gov, shunting aside the original one, CGI Federal. …
Those problems became evident just minutes after Maryland’s health insurance exchange launched Oct. 1, The site crashed, and thousands of people eager to shop for and enroll in Affordable Care Act plans could not be assisted.
And $65 million is hardly the long and short of it. Maryland, of course, immediately got on board with the Obama administration’s Medicaid-expansion request, but their hastily structured, error-prone website is likely to tack on tens of millions of dollars to taxpayers’ total price tag. WaPo explains:
A single flaw in Maryland’s troubled online health insurance system will cost the state an estimated $30.5 million in excess Medicaid payments over the next 18 months because the system cannot accurately identify recipients who should be removed from the rolls, a report by state budget officials said.
The money will pay for coverage for thousands of individuals who are enrolled in Medicaid but whose income likely has increased to the point that they no longer qualify for the subsidy, which helps cover health costs for low-income individuals.
Maryland’s system cannot check whether Medicaid recipients earn too much to re-qualify. Rather than remove people incorrectly, the state reached an agreement with federal officials to delay reviews and continue payments until the site is repaired.
… In addition to identifying the “potentially very costly” Medicaid flaw, the report also found “significant uncertainty” about how much money it will take to fix the health insurance marketplace and where that money will come from.
Maryland, much like the federal government, has been steadily lowering expectations for the open enrollment period ending in barely a month, but the latest numbers peg their private-plan enrollment at just about 33,000 — less than half of their freshly-lowered enrollment goal of 70,000. Oof.