Maryland to have $45 million paid back from company which botched ACA exchange

Long-time readers (and anyone from Maryland, I presume) know that the Old Line State (I have no idea whether that nickname is actually widely used?) was among those whose 2014 ACA exchange website turned out to be a huge technical mess. Oregon and Nevada received most of the headlines because they both ended up scrapping theirs completely and moving home to HealthCare.Gov this year (to be followed by Hawaii in 2016), but along with Massachusetts, Maryland went the "Try, Try Again" route.

While MA & MD did also scrap their respective tech platforms, instead of being absorbed into the mothership, they decided to start over for Year Two...and both states, to their credit, appear to have done it right this time around: Maryland has racked up 126,000 effectuated enrollees this year, exactly double their 2014 enrollment, while Massachusetts has managed to increase private policy enrollments by a whopping five fold over last year (166K vs. 32K). In Maryland's case, they ended up replacing the first platform with what amounts to a modified version of Connecticut's exchange, which worked very well from the get-go.

In any event, the bottom line is that Maryland's first exchange website was a disaster, with about $118 million flushed down the drain. The good news today is that it looks like they'll be getting a large portion of that back:

The prime contractor on Maryland's online health exchange will repay the state $45 million to settle claims that it botched the rollout of the marketplace created under the Affordable Care Act, according to a agreement announced Tuesday with Noridian Healthcare Solutions.

The total — just over 60 percent of what Noridian was paid — was approved by the health exchange board during a meeting Tuesday afternoon. U.S regulators still must approve the deal as much of the funding was federal.

The state cut ties with Noridian about four months after the website crashed on its first day in 2013, paying the company about $73 million of its $193 million contract to build and operate the exchange. The site never worked properly, delaying the applications of thousands of people without employer healthcare and in need of coverage.

Good for Maryland.