Cleaning Out the In Box 4: HC.gov backend tech issues; NV gives more biz to Xerox; BCBSV pushes for 9.8% premium hike

I've been too busy with my day job (I do have one, you know...) to post much lately, but plenty of ACA-related news has piled up, so I'm clearing off my desk with some quick hits:

HEALTHCARE.GOV: Lack of Back End Software for Federal Exchange

One of the big news stories in 2013 and early 2014 was the botched launch of the federal Exchange (and several key state Exchanges), which led to many Americans having to wait to be enrolled in an ACA-sanctioned health plan.  Although some technical snafus have been addressed, many still remain.  For example, a top White House official told Congress recently that the automated system to send payments to insurance companies is still under development, and didn't offer a completion date. The lack of an electronic verification process is only one part of the "backend" of the software that is still problematic five years after the Act was passed.

NEVADA: After health care debacle, Gov. Brian Sandoval reluctantly extends Nevada’s ties with Xerox

Gov. Brian Sandoval approved up to $7.8 million in new state contracts with Xerox on Tuesday despite his skepticism of the tech giant and its failed project to build Nevada's health care exchange.

The governor's approval at the Nevada Board of Examiners meeting avoids a potential legal battle after Xerox won public bids for two contracts. Both contracts cover audit work on unclaimed property for the state treasurer’s office.

Sandoval, a former federal judge, suggested he's still unhappy with Xerox but said it would “feel retaliatory for me to oppose” the contracts because of the health exchange problems.

VERMONT: Blue Cross defends exchange rate increase before Green Mountain Care Board

MONTPELIER -- Vermont's largest health insurer said Tuesday that any reduction to its requested rate increase for plans it offers on the state's health exchange could hurt its solvency, but consumer advocates argue the increase will make coverage less affordable.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont is requesting an average 9.8 percent rate increase for its Vermont Health Connect plans in 2015. That translates to a $20 to $75 monthly increase in premiums, depending on the plan.

Blue Cross covers more than 90 percent of those who purchased commercial insurance through Vermont Health Connect, the state's health insurance marketplace.

...However, an actuarial firm hired by the Green Mountain Care Board made several recommendations for adjustments that would shrink the Blue Cross rate increase.