Massachusetts, Model for Obamacare, Struggles to Comply With Obamacare's Requirements



The health care overhaul passed in Massachusetts under Gov. Mitt Romney was a state-level model for the federal reform plan that became Obamacare.

But Massachusetts has had an exceedingly tough time upgrading its own system to comply with the federal law. Via The Boston Globe, the state's new exchange technology is still broken:

Connector executive director Jean Yang said Thursday that the manual systems created to bypass the malfunctioning website are complicated. The agency has been working to identify stalled enrollments, so that a crisis management team can address them.

The team was working on between 40 and 50 cases Thursday, Yang said, though she could not say how many were related to premium payments that were not properly processed. She said the Connector is planning to improve customer service with better training.

The fixes have not "happened as fast as we would have liked," Yang said. "We won't stop until it's all taken care of."

The Connector website was developed by CGI, the same firm that created the federal healthcare.gov website that got off to a rocky start.

But, while the federal site is largely fixed, major components of the state site still do not work, including those that process payments, determine whether people are eligible for subsidies, and transfer information automatically to health insurers.

At Forbes, meanwhile, Josh Archambault notes that by some measures Massachusetts has the worst performing exchange in the nation: The state has enrolled just 5,428 people—0.2% of its first year goal of 250,000, a lower percentage than any other state. (In response, the state has lowered its year-one goal to 200,000.) At this point, the state has failed to enroll a single person through its online exchange. Every enrollment so far has been via a manual workaround. 

At least two other states gung-ho about health reform—Maryland and Oregon—continue to struggle with their exchanges as well.