States hurry to fix healthcare exchange websites in new enrollment period

November 17, 2014

Several states whose health exchange websites failed their first test during last year’s inaugural ObamaCare open enrollment period have adopted different approaches for the second round, which began Saturday.

Some, like Oregon and Nevada, folded and decided to go with the federal exchange. Others, like Maryland and Massachusetts, fired their technology contractors and are hoping for better results this time.

It hasn’t been cheap.

The original cost of Massachusetts’ website was estimated at $174 million. That has jumped to $254 million. When launched, the website, designed by the same contractor that worked on the troubled, was incompatible with some browsers and was riddled with error messages and navigational problems. The problems were so bad, federal officials gave the state three extra months to meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act. Gov. Deval Patrick issued a public apology and health care officials were forced to adopt a series of manual workarounds, creating a backlog of more than 50,000 paper applications.

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