Massachusetts & New Mexico Year 2 Exchange Developments

Hat Tip To: 
deaconblues, Esther F.

Some good news (relatively speaking) on the Massachusetts front: As you'll recall, the state which inspired the ACA (ironically due to the program being spearheaded by then-Governor Mitt Romney), and which has been operating under their state-level version of the law smoothly for some years now, had an incredibly embarrassing misfire with their ACA-specific exchange website. After hobbling through the first enrollment period (and leaving over 200,000 residents in healthcare limbo as a result), it was determined that the existing site was such a mess that they had two choices: Either replace the existing software with an entirely new system, or drop the whole thing and move over to the Federal exchange as Oregon is doing.

Instead, Massachusetts decided to hedge their bets and pursue both: They've been working with a new vendor to rebuild their own exchange from scratch, while simultaneously arranging for a quick move to just in case Plan A doesn't work out.

The good news is that so far, anyway, the new platform seems to be working out in early testing, though it's way too early to be sure of anything:

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 on Monday.

...Cohen also said that the hCentive program will be able to share information with MassHealth, the state’s Medicaid program, in a way that will enable most enrollees to apply through the Connector and determine eligibility in a “single-front-door” process. As a result, people found eligible for Medicaid, instead of the subsidized private plans sold by the Connector, won’t have to go through a second enrollment process.

Meanwhile, New Mexico, which was running via the federal exchange the first year, and which has been planning on moving onto their own exchange for Year Two, may end up changing their mind on that as well; there's a possibility of them sticking with the federal exchange after all:

At a special board meeting Friday, the New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange (NMHIX) Board of Directors decided to delay a possible decision on whether it would remain as part of the FFM (Federally Facilitated Marketplace) or become a state-based exchange until its July board meeting and selected Amy Dowd as the NMHIX permanent Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

The NMHIX will possibly decide whether to remain a FFM for the 2014-2015 individual open enrollment period scheduled to begin November 15, 2014 at its next board meeting, scheduled July 25, 2015. The Exchange will continue to operate its own SHOP (Small Business Health Options) platform for small businesses and their employees to enroll in federally qualified health plans.

In addition, this article both updates and clarifies a slight data discrepancy that I had been wondering about back in late April; several hundred individual QHPs turned out to actually be SHOP enrollees. Also, NM's exchange QHP tally has gone up 2,138 since the end of the first open enrollment period:

...As of June 30, 2014 the New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange had 34,200 individuals enrolled in qualified health plans. An additional 126 employers were enrolled in SHOP, with 447 employees and 202 dependents receiving insurance coverage for a total of 34,849 individuals enrolled through NMHIX.

Finally, a separate article also gives updated data on off-exchange QHP enrollments in New Mexico:

Despite problems with the federal exchange, nearly 35,000 New Mexicans signed up for insurance plans offered by private insurers through the online marketplace, according to figures through mid-April from the state insurance superintendent's office. In addition to that, about 17,000 individuals signed up for coverage off the exchange, such as dealing directly with insurers and their brokers.