The healthcare reforms in the state are now well under way, making it one of the furthest along.
Connecticut has been one of the states that is moving forward with its health insurance marketplace at the fastest race, allowing it to take one of the lead positions in preparing to enroll residents in October through the new online exchange.
Though the state’s efforts are progressing well, it has learned that there are some challenges with being first.
The team at the state’s health insurance exchange – a quasi-public marketplace – is currently creating both the agency and the online comparison shopping experience from scratch. It has been named Access health CT, and is relying on the guidance and regulations put forward by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), as those rules have been established so far.
A main struggle in creating the health insurance marketplace is the HHS continues to make changes along the way.
According to the CEO of Access Health CT, Kevin Counihan, “Sometimes it feels like we’re driving a car and then changing the tire at the same time.” For instance, in late February, Counihan explained that he told the HHS that the health insurance exchange in Connecticut would need to stop putting any new federal regulations into place as of March 1, so that the state would be able to concentrate on preparing for the user testing phase of the program. That phase is planned to start on June 4.
Counihan stated that the health insurance marketplace would start to address any regulations put into place by the HHS after March 1 once the user testing phase was well under way. He said that “We have to draw the line in the sand at some point. Not because we’re trying to be contentious or confrontational or difficult.”
He explained this perspective by saying that it will already be very difficult to be able to provide the quality of service that “our residents deserve in Connecticut” within the current deadline. He stated that if new regulations continue to be added to the health insurance exchange program creation, “I’m sorry. We have to suddenly say, ‘enough is enough’.”