If you like your exchange … you can keep your exchange? And if you don‘t like your state ObamaCare exchange — because it hasn’t functioned properly in six months despite endless promises that Maryland would fix it — you don’t have to keep your exchange. The state will finally throw in the towel on its $125 million web portal, and will replace it with a copy of Connecticut’s:
Maryland officials are set to replace the state’s online health-insurance exchange with technology from Connecticut’s insurance marketplace, according to two people familiar with the decision, an acknowledgment that a system that has cost at least $125.5 million is broken beyond repair.
The board of the Maryland exchange plans to vote on the change Tuesday, the day after the end of the first enrollment period for the state’s residents under the 2010 Affordable Care Act. …
It was not immediately clear how much more money Maryland may have to invest to get a fully functioning system, according to the two individuals, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the changes.
How much more money will Maryland taxpayers have to cough up? Well, let’s take a look at results first. Maryland spent $125.5 million on the existing exchange. That was supposed to enroll 150,000 people by Monday’s deadline. They just recently cut their goal in half to 75,000, but the Washington Post reports that fewer than 50,000 have enrolled in private plans through the exchange, as of today. It’s not clear, though, that the Post confirmed these as actual enrollments where a premium has been paid, or just sign-ups to private plans without confirmation of actual enrollment. Given the way the media has reported on the government figures, it’s presumably the latter.
With those results in mind, one might imagine that it will take several hundred million dollars in order to salvage the database from this system while buying another system entirely from Deloitte, who built the Connecticut system. Of course, most of the original exchange database software and hardware can simply be converted to the new system to save taxpayers significant start-up costs, right? Wrong:
Some of the hardware that Maryland bought for its system, such as servers, can be salvaged, but the software and coding that are the guts of its online marketplace will be replaced, said the individuals familiar with the decision.
Only some of the hardware will work in a new system? Shouldn’t the web portal and database have been designed to be platform-independent? Maryland taxpayers had better brace themselves for another big bill. Maybe this time their money will actually buy a system that works.