Massachusetts May Ditch Obamacare Website

Sense of urgency increases as commonwealth hedges its bets, weighs options.


State officials still grappling with a backlog of 54,000 paper applications are considering scrapping Massachusetts’ botched Obamacare website, which already has cost taxpayers about $15 million.

The state’s options include continuing to try to fix vendor CGI’s platform, using parts of health care exchanges set up by other states and the federal government, or starting over, Sarah Iselin, Gov. Deval Patrick’s Obamacare czar, said at a meeting yesterday of the Health Connector board.

“We are frankly hedging our bets,” she said.

Iselin told reporters afterward it’s still unclear exactly how long it will take to fix the Health Connector website or how much it would cost. Of the $69 million the state budgeted, it has already paid about $15 million, said Jason Lefferts, a Connector spokesman.

Over the past two weeks, the Connector has made some progress, including enrolling 21,000 more residents into transitional coverage and reducing the average time it takes to enter paper applications from two hours to 39 minutes, Iselin said.

But it still has a paper application backlog of 54,000, 15,000 of which already have coverage and 39,000 of which have yet to be screened.

“There’s clearly a sense of urgency,” said state Rep. Carolyn Dykema (D-Holliston).

Dykema stopped short of saying that the website should be scrapped, but said the state “absolutely” should consider looking at what has worked in other states.

Connecticut, for example, has so far exceeded its own expectations for getting people to sign up for health insurance through its website that it is setting up a consulting practice to help other states.

©2014 the Boston Herald

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