Obamacare Health Exchanges: How Oregon Got It Done
What's so hard about creating an online insurance buying exchange, this technology that's so pivotal to making healthcare reform work?
Across the U.S., insurance-buying exchanges go live on Oct. 1 as part of the Affordable Care Act healthcare reform law, meant to let people shop for health insurance using exchanges that factor in their eligibility for tax credits and other assistance. Reports already have trickled in about technical glitches. Expect more this week. Oregon's plan was to launch its exchange on Tuesday but give access only to insurance agents and other community partners, who can guide their customers through the buying process. Oregon won't open the online exchange to the general public until later in the month. It's a play-it-safe, soft-launch approach that recognizes glitches are likely, so better to work those bugs out with a limited number of agents and lessen the general public's confusion.
Oregon's approach left me wondering: What's so hard about creating an online insurance buying exchange, this technology that's so pivotal to making healthcare reform work? Progressive already can give me a handful of car insurance quotes in a few minutes online. Amazon.com sells thousands upon thousands of different products. Ecommerce feels like pretty mature technology.
To understand the challenge, I spoke with Aaron Karjala, CIO of Cover Oregon, which runs Oregon's health insurance marketplace, and Carolyn Lawson, CIO of Oregon Health Authority and Department of Human Services, which started the exchange project before state lawmakers created Cover Oregon. Here's a look inside some of the challenges facing Oregon's more than two-year effort. Read full story on InformationWeek
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