Mass. Fix To Insurance Website Passes Preliminary Test

New software for the health exchange has passed its initial testing and officials say they are cautiously optimistic that the state can run its own marketplace when enrollment begins in the fall. Also, Modern Healthcare examines where small business exchanges stand.

The Boston Globe: New Mass. Health Insurance Website Passes Key Test
A new software system for the state’s health insurance website passed its first key test this week, and a final decision on whether Massachusetts will run its own site or join the federal exchange will be made in early August, a top state official said. Maydad Cohen, special adviser to the governor, told the Massachusetts Health Connector board Thursday morning that the new software from hCentive performed every task required by federal officials, and then some, in a Washington, D.C., demonstration Monday. This success, he said in an interview afterward, leaves him increasingly but cautiously optimistic that the state will be able to employ the hCentive software when open enrollment starts Nov. 15 (Freyer, 7/10).

WBUR: Cautious Optimism That New State Insurance Site Will Work
The first test of a new Massachusetts health insurance website was a success, a top state official says, leaving him cautiously optimistic that it will be up and running for a critical Nov. 15 deadline. That's Opening Day for anyone who plans to buy insurance through the Health Connector, or is seeking free or subsidized coverage. But Maydad Cohen, a top aide to Gov. Deval Patrick, says he’s not sure yet if the site, developed by hCentive, will be ready (Bebinger, 7/10).

The Associated Press: State Reports Progress In Fixing Health Website
Software ordered by Massachusetts to fix its hobbled health care exchange passed initial tests, renewing hopes that the state could finally have a fully operational website by year's end, officials said Thursday. The breakdown dramatically slowed the state's transition to the federal Affordable Care Act from its own first-in-the-nation universal health insurance law that provided a model for President Barack Obama's plan. Massachusetts severed ties earlier this year with the lead contractor on its health exchange, CGI Group, and has been forced to shuffle more than 200,000 of its residents into temporary Medicaid coverage (Salsberg, 7/10).

Modern Healthcare: Small Business Exchanges Hope For Better 2015 After Rocky Start
Health insurance marketplaces for small businesses have largely been a bust in their first year of operations. That's in large part because online enrollment hasn't been available for businesses in the 32 states relying on the federal website. In addition, several state-based exchanges, most notably Covered California, also have required businesses to send in paper applications to enroll. That undoubtedly served as a deterrent for companies with less than 50 employees that might otherwise have considered shopping for coverage through the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) (Demko, 7/10).

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