New Md. Health Exchange Site To Be Modeled After Connecticut’s

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Hundreds of millions of dollars were invested into Maryland’s problem-plagued health care website. Now state officials have announced an upgrade to the site–but it comes with a hefty price tag.

Meghan McCorkell reports Governor Martin O’Malley spoke about the changes.

From the start, errors and glitches plagued the Maryland Health Connection website. Now the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange has voted to upgrade the site, using the same technology as Connecticut’s health exchange.

“Having completed this first open enrollment process, we’ve decided to move to a platform that’s proven to have worked,” O’Malley said.

The upgrade will cost between $40 and $50 million, plus hardware and software costs, as well as $6 million in operations and maintenance.

“We recognize that hard questions will be asked, but we think this is the right thing to do for the people in Maryland,” said Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, state health secretary.

The current Maryland site has already cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars to develop and fix, but officials say fixing the Maryland site would cost $66 million and take a year–and there’s no guarantee it would work.

State officials will ask the federal government for the money to fund the upgrade.

Critics say there are still questions about why the Maryland site failed.

“Maryland said we can do it alone and we will be a model for it. They weren’t, they didn’t and we need to know why,” said Senate Minority Leader Senator David Brinkley.

Despite the flaws, more than 295,000 Marylanders have signed up for health care using the website–that’s 35,000 more than the state’s goal.

The next open enrollment period begins in November. The upgrade is expected to take seven months, which will cut it close to that November deadline.

Until federal funding is secured, state funds will be used to pay for the website upgrades.

The governor admits the launch of Maryland’s health care website was a failure.

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