Software Problems Cripple Federal Healthcare System Rollout


Connecticut Health Insurance Exchange's Counihan said the key to maintaining the uptime was three pronged, focusing on the customer experience and system stability and following a business process outsourcing (BPO) strategy. He said that his company had to make some tough decisions back in January to limit functionality, saying it was better to focus on doing a few things well than more things inconsistently.

Connecticut has taken steps to be more sustainable and self-sufficient and limit interaction with the federal hubs. For example, it cut enrollment time in half by verifying with the federal Hub during the enrollment process, instead of a batch verification of multiple users at the end. By verifying one at a time, Connecticut Health Insurance Exchange was able to prevent a group failure and limit its users' dependency on the Hub.

As of Saturday evening, there were 1,157 applicants to the system plus their dependents, Counihan said.

Counihan said that due to the enormity of the software project, it will take some time to iron out all the glitches in the system. He said it reminded him of the Medicare Part B implementation in 2006, which took a full three years to stabilize, and he expected it would take around the same time frame for Obamacare, formally known as the Affordable Care Act, to settle in.

"We're going to look back at this in three years and it's going to be a blip on the screen," Counihan said. "I'm not saying were out of the woods. This is too complex; it would be presumptuous to say that."

PUBLISHED OCT. 7, 2013