Md. Looks to Scrap $125.5 Million Obamacare Website, Start Over
Marguerite Bowling /
As states and the federal government push for enrollment in Obamacare ahead of today’s midnight deadline, Maryland is poised for a do-over of its health insurance website, which has performed poorly at a cost of $125.5 million to date.
The Washington Post reports that the board for the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange is scheduled to vote tomorrow to replace its website with technology used for Connecticut’s insurance exchange.
Maryland was one of 16 states (and the District of Columbia) that elected to create and run an online health insurance marketplace as part of the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare. The federal exchange, HealthCare.gov, went through its own spectacularly rough rollout; the website was down again this morning even after its own highly publicized change in contractors.
As of March 22, approximately 49,293 Marylanders had chosen to enroll in private health plans, the state exchange said in its latest report. The report didn’t detail how many of those customers had paid their first month’s premium—a more conventional measure of being insured in a private health plan.
It isn’t clear how much Maryland’s revamped website will cost taxpayers or how long the project will take. Moments after the original launched at noon Oct. 1, the site crashed. It has been plagued with severe technical problems ever since.
In January, The Post reported that senior state officials knew more than a year before the launch that the online portal had serious problems. In the aftermath of the disastrous launch, the head of the exchange resigned and the board fired its main contractor, Noridian Healthcare Solutions, the Baltimore Sun reported.
As with several other states, Maryland decided to extend the enrollment deadline. That gives residents more time to sign up as long as they notify a state hotline center today that they’re having problems applying for insurance.
Maryland’s website debacle is not the worst, though: Oregon is considered Obamacare’s biggest technological disaster, costing taxpayers $170 million so far. Politico notes that Oregon’s online insurance exchange is the only state-run site where applicants still can’t buy coverage online. Instead, residents have been forced to fill out paper applications or go through call centers.
The Government Accountability Office opened an investigation earlier this month to examine Oregon’s website as part of a broader study of state health exchanges. Later this week, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will hold a hearing to examine what it calls “Obamacare’s problem-filled state exchanges.”
This story was produced by The Foundry’s news team. Nothing here should be construed as necessarily reflecting the views of The Heritage Foundation.