Massachusetts Not Joining HealthCare.gov

Saturday, 09 Aug 2014 07:01 PM

By Andrea Billups

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Massachusetts plans to replace its failed healthcare exchange with a new private system by November rather than moving to the federal HealthCare.gov site to provide Obamacare coverage in the Bay State.

The state announced Friday it would use a private Virginia-based company, hCentive, The Wall Street Journal reported. The state expects hCentive's system to be ready by Nov. 15, when Obamacare enrollment resumes, officials said.

"Massachusetts will remain a state-based marketplace," Maydad Cohen, a special adviser to the governor who leads the transition, said Friday morning in a conference call with reporters, The Boston Globe reports.

"We still have a lot of work in front of us, both technical and operational," Cohen added, noting the state's confidence that the new company, which has been successfully used by other states. "We’ve successfully demonstrated hCentive’s ability to deliver a smooth consumer experience."

Previously, the state had attempted to build its own Obamacare exchange, but it proved unworkable even as millions of dollars in taxpayer money were spent trying to get it up to speed, The Daily Caller reported. The state's healthcare program, started in 2006, was used as a template for the Obamacare law.

As it attempted to fix problems, the state had prepared to use the federal website if hCentive's new software wasn't up to the task.

But officials are satisfied that the private company is on track and will drop the HealthCare.gov backup plan.

"It's been a while since we had really good news, and this is really good news," noted Amy Whitcomb Slemmer, executive director of Health Care for All, in an interview with the Globe. "It’s going to be so much easier for people."

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