When Obamacare’s health insurance exchanges officially launched in October, 2013, one of the worst performers was, somewhat ironically, located in the one state that already had a functioning health insurance exchange: Massachusetts.
The state had been running its own online insurance portal for years as part of RomneyCare, the coverage expansion that would become the model for Obamacare. But the exchange the state already had in place, while functional, didn’t have all of the features required by Obamacare. A total overhaul was required.
But when Obamacare’s exchanges went live, the upgrade turned out to be a downgrade. Despite years of administrative planning and development, funded largely by $135 million federal grants, the Massachusetts Health Connector basically didn’t work at all during the first open enrollment period. Repair efforts stalled, and eventually the entire thing was scrapped so that the state could start all over again on yet another new exchange. The original tech contractor, CGI (which also worked on the botched federal exchange) was fired from the project, and a new team was brought in to start over.
It’s been clear for a while now that the project was massively mismanaged, but it now looks increasingly as if development of the exchange may have involved illegality as well as incompetence.