MD Healthcare Exchange Glitches Costing Taxpayers - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

MD Healthcare Exchange Glitches Costing Taxpayers

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MARYLAND - Glitches in Maryland's healthcare exchange are leaving tens of thousands of residents in limbo, unable to access care.

"Let's say someone applied for a tax credit through Maryland Health Connection, and at some point or another, they're still not enrolled with Care First or United Healthcare -- one of the carriers they chose. I've had several people reach out to me and say that this is the problem," insurance broker with Avery Hall Insurance Group Alyssa Minton said.

Because of technological problems like software glitches, those who enroll through the exchange are not getting the information they need about the plans they chose. The Maryland Board of Public Works will now have to pay a Denver-based company up to $2 million more to provide what the web site isn't for Medicaid-eligible residents.

It's something Comptroller Peter Franchot says could have been avoided. The IT companies that were hired to create the online exchange in the first place were reportedly never put through the board of public works review.

"The Maryland Board of Public Works makes these agencies that are asking for these big contracts that spend lots of taxpayers' money, to stand up in the light of day and explain what they're doing on the record – transparent, visible. That was taken away. They did not do it. They did it out of the public eye, without the proper vetting, without the proper checks and balances and the proof is in the pudding. It has not worked. They said they did it to expedite this transformational new initiative, and they needed to do it very quickly. Well, they should have concentrated more on doing it right," Franchot said.

It's a major oversight that has cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.   

Some of the problems include connection issues with the exchange, and the 800 number listed on the web site reportedly directed people to a pottery supply store in Seattle, WA.

With just over a month from the open enrollment deadline, only 31,000 Marylanders have signed up so far.

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