Three More Obamacare Exchanges Put on Critical List Following Oregon's Demise

May 15, 2014 - 10:53 AM

In case you missed it, Cover Oregon is finished.  The Beaver State's health care exchange is shutting down, but three other exchanges have also failed: Massachusetts, Nevada, and Maryland.  With Oregon's failure included, the federal government has spent $474 million dollars on these exchanges (via Politico):

The $474 million spent by these four states includes the cost that officials have publicly detailed to date. It climbs further if states like Minnesota and Hawaii, which have suffered similarly dysfunctional exchanges, are added.

Their totals are just a fraction of the $4.698 billion that the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation calculates the federal government has approved for states since 2011 to help them determine whether to create their own exchanges and to assist in doing so. Still, the amount of money that now appears wasted is prompting calls for far greater accountability.

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Nevada, for one, is still trying to figure out its future. Oregon has decided to switch to HealthCare.gov. Maryland wants to fix its own exchange, maybe by incorporating what worked in Connecticut. Massachusetts actually wants to do both - build a portal from scratch while planning a move to the federal exchange as a backup.


Massachusetts' dual-track approach could require more than $120 million on top of the $170 million it already has been awarded. That cost is nearly twice as much as if the state were to simply bail on its Connector, but officials seem to be banking in part on the Obama administration's greater interest in helping the Massachusetts exchange - the once-pioneering model for Obamacare - survive.

Yet, Hawaii could be the next on the list.  Recently, the CEO of the state's largest health insurance company in the Aloha State has called for its embattled exchange to shut down (via Associated Press):

The chief executive of Hawaii's largest health insurance company is calling on Hawaii to shut down its beleaguered health insurance exchange, which was set up as part of President Barack Obama's signature health care law.

Michael Gold, president and CEO of Hawaii Medical Services Association, says the state shouldn't keep spending money on the Hawaii Health Connector, a system that he says is financially unsustainable and does not work.

"I think there's an alternative that Hawaii needs to pursue immediately," Gold said in an interview with The Associated Press.

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The rollout of Hawaii's health exchange was delayed and plagued with technical problems. The Connector was awarded more than $200 million in federal funds. It has used about $100 million. It signed up 9,217 individuals, plus 628 employees and dependents. To date, the Connector has raised only $40,350 in user fees, according to Nathan Hokama, the exchange's spokesman.