Massachusetts will try again at building its own Obamacare exchange instead of moving to HealthCare.gov, officials announced Friday.
Almost one year too late and hundreds of millions in taxpayer funding later, officials believe the state’s new technology will be ready for Obamacare’s next open enrollment period in November.
“Massachusetts will remain a state-based marketplace,” said Maydad Cohen, a special assistant to the governor on the Obamacare exchange. “We’ve successfully demonstrated hCentive’s ability to deliver a smooth consumer experience.”
Massachusetts pioneered the health reforms that would later serve as inspiration for Obamacare and had an operating state health exchange when officials revamped it to suit the federal health-care law. The shift tanked the exchange and Massachusetts gave up on its technologically-challenged effort in May. (RELATED: Massachusetts To Dump Obamacare Exchange And Start Over)
The state has been working with software developer hCentive, which also helped to build the Kentucky and Colorado exchanges, to create its own state-run exchange website while also preparing to shift to HealthCare.gov, in case they failed. The state spent $108 million building the site the first time and another $34 million in extra administrative costs due to the website’s failure; the second effort cost $121 million.
The website flop forced thousands of Massachusetts residents to be signed up for Medicaid temporarily because they were unable to enroll in private coverage through the exchange. 160,000 residents shunted into the temporary Medicaid fix at the cost of $10 million per month for taxpayers, according to Politico.
Oregon, Nevada, Massachusetts and Maryland have all given up on their first round, technologically-challenged Obamacare websites — four of just 16 states and D.C. that attempted to build their own exchanges.
Oregon and Nevada are joining federal exchange HealthCare.gov in 2015. Like Massachusetts, Maryland scrapped its exchange and started over with another state’s model exchange. (RELATED: Maryland Obamacare Exchange Spent $90 Million On Technology Before Abandoning Website)