Jim Wadleigh, Access Health CT Discusses the Launch and Progress at the Exchange
Jim Wadleigh, CIO, Access Health CT (Connecticut’s Health Benefits Exchange (HIX)) sat down with Healthcare IT Connect‘s Rob Waters to discuss the launch of the exchange, emerging trends from the first months of enrollment, how data from the exchange will be used to optimize the marketplace and how Access Health CT is planning to share technology and lessons learned with other states.
Jim will be presenting at the leadership panel ‘HIX Analytics: What Data is Being Utilized and How will it be Used?’, part of the 2014 State Healthcare IT Connect Summit (produced in partnership with NASCIO), April1-2, Baltimore, MD. Register before Friday January 31st to take advantage of the Promotional Rate Government and State Designated Entities can register at the complimentary rate. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire regarding registration and sponsorship at the conference.
Rob Waters (RW): Jim, it’s now been over 3 months since the launch of Access Health CT, how did the launch go and what how has progress been with enrollments at the exchange to date?
Jim Wadleigh (JW): The launch went very well other than some periodic issues with the Federal Data Services Hub. Although the Fed’s have been working through their issues, these issues did impact Connecticut consumers. The enrollment progress has been great and proceeded as expected; had an initial flurry, a lull, and then the mad rush for the end of December for enrollment for the first of January. The current enrollment is nearing 90,000, a leading state for being head of our Federal target enrollment.
RW: Could you give me some insights into the day of a life of a HIX CIO and some of the challenges you’re facing during the early days at the exchange?
Every day is hectic even with a great launch. Daily, stakeholders think of things they need to include in the solution. It can be anything from a new data element to a new business rule to handle something that was initially not included or new functionality to accelerate enrollment of applications.
JW: From the early data you’ve seen coming out of the exchange, what have been some of the identified trends and have there been any surprises?
1. Individuals wait until the last day and last hours to complete the application.
2. Individuals require more than one web-site visit to finish the process for the selection of a plan (think time).
3. Terminology matters. Since the on-line application is based on the Streamed Line Application some of the terminology is eligibility based vs. buy language.
4. Individuals need assistance with terminology and the details in the application process.
The impact of the volume of enrollments to the carriers.
RW: How will Access Health CT be using the data to optimize carrier participation at the exchange?
JW: We have plans to roll out an All Payer Claims Database (APCD) in 2015 that will enable health analytics providing greater customer visibility to cost of care, quality of care, and access to care.
RW: Some HIX CIOs have referenced that sharing technology between different states has proven problematic, what was your experience been here and do you have any plans to share Connecticut’s technology and lessons learned?
JW: It is always difficult to share between any entities so sharing between states is no different. Some of it is interpretation of rules or laws and other is determining what components of the applications are part of the public domain. Though business rules, designs etc. can easily be shared, and have been shared, it is more difficult to share components of the system especially since a number of the states developed the solution on different platforms or used COTS solutions. The most challenges center around integration of a pre-existing solution. This also has the most cost impact.
Connecticut’s state-based exchange is developing an “exchange in a box” for other states that are interested in operating their own insurance marketplaces and don’t want to start from scratch with developing their own technology. This allows Connecticut to help empower other state-based exchanges that have experienced difficulty. Below are is an excerpt from one of the dozens of articles highlighting the success of the CT exchange. I’m proud to be leading such a great team!
“The state’s exchange is considered a model for the country because of its ease of use, Counihan (Kevin Counihan, CEO of Access Health CT) said. As a result, about 9% of state residents are uninsured, compared to about 17% nationally and as many as 30% or more in states like Texas, Florida and California.
The Connecticut exchange is simple, Counihan said. Users may log on to accesshealthct.com and, after confirming their eligibility, select from gold, silver and bronze plans offered by four health insurance providers.
Counihan said the web data shows that it takes about 40 minutes for a person to sign up, better than the national average of more than an hour.”