Thursday, October 31, 2013

Vermont exchange train wreck

$170 Million and they got nothin'

On Sept. 12 the nationally known consulting group Gartner Inc. delivered a report to the federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The report assessed the operational readiness of the various state health insurance exchanges as the Obamacare-mandated launch date — Oct. 1 — approached.

Vermont Health Connect, the state’s $170 million exchange, is “one of the most functional in the country,” according to Gov. Peter Shumlin. That’s conceivably true, since most if not all of the other exchanges are in serious trouble, but the Gartner report concluded that Vermont Health Connect “should be considered in RED status due to significant risks to meeting the Oct. 1 deadline for Go-Live.”

The statutory deadline of Oct. 1 has long since gone by, but Vermont Health Connect remains essentially inoperative. You can review the Obamacare-approved insurance plans offered for 2014, but you can’t buy one. Kyle Midura of WCAX-TV observed on the Oct. 18 “Vermont This Week” program that site visitors “almost inevitably get an error message.”

Governor Shumlin first dismissed Vermont Health Connect’s missed opening date as a “nothing burger.” He then said the exchange would be operative by Nov. 1, and that unspecified people were “working 24/7” to get it going. Most recently, he waffled on the Nov. 1 deadline as well, saying it might be ready by Nov. 3. Midura noted that administration officials view this as a “soft deadline” — more a suggestion than a requirement that triggers real-world consequences.

Via: Rutland Herald
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