Just a couple of technical notes that are making me more confident about the roll-out of the Exchanges for the 2015 Open Enrollment period.
Maryland is going to a window-shopping model:
The second year of Maryland’s health insurance marketplace for individuals and families begins on Nov. 9 when consumers will have access to a newly redesigned website that enables “anonymous browsing,” the ability to compare plans — without registering personal information — before enrolling. This feature is being launched earlier than originally planned to enhance the shopping experience for Marylanders
SHOP is being beta tested in Missouri and Illinois before national launch:
Missouri and Illinois will be two of five states to get an early look at the federal health insurance marketplace for small businesses, theCenters for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced Wednesday.
Businesses with fewer than 50 full-time workers in the five states will be able to access the Small Business Health Options Program, or SHOP, in late October, ahead of the start of open enrollment on Nov. 15.
Vermont’s Exchange website is down for maitenance right now:
VermontHealthConnect.gov is unavailable for a period of extended maintenance. If you have immediate needs, please contact our Customer Support Center at 855-899-9600 (toll-free) from 8am to 8pm Monday-Friday and 8am to 1pm on Saturday.
The soft launch of SHOP is a typical launch process for big releases. A select set of users are allowed to use production processes and figure out what they can blow up. Programmers and analysts then have time from the limited release to fix show-stopping bugs before most of the user base can access the system. Vermont is using cyclical and predictable down time to get their back-end straightened up and formalized systems put into place instead of quasi-effective short term kludges that will destroy the code if not replaced while Maryland is adapting a best practice for load management.
Will November 15th be perfect? Hell no, but we know most of the state exchanges and healthcare.gov work well enough at the basic functionality (let’s not talk about 820s right now), so seeing these types of stories in the past month that we’ve transitioned from crisis to normal operating procedures.