Maryland Flushes $126 Million By Redoing Health Insurance Exchange

Cortney O'Brien

3/31/2014 4:00:00 PM - Cortney O'Brien

Maryland was one of 14 states to create its own health care insurance exchange. The system has cost $125.5 million to develop and operate. Despite the steep cost, the state doesn't have much to show for it, as only 9 percent of potential enrollees have signed up. Now, Maryland officials have decided to scrap the system and start over.

Like, Maryland's enrollment was rocky from the start. The exchange site crashed immediately after launching and, as of last week, only 49,293 residents had enrolled through the exchange, well out of reach of the original goal of 150,000.

To try and remedy the failure, Maryland officials are now looking to Connecticut, which has had one of the most successful rates in the country.

Some of the hardware that Maryland bought for its system, such as servers, can be salvaged, but the software and coding that are the guts of its online marketplace will be replaced, said the individuals familiar with the decision.

To knit together the new system, Maryland will turn to the consulting firm Deloitte, which wrote the code for Connecticut’s exchange.

Leni Preston, chair of the Maryland Women’s Coalition for Health Care Reform, is cautious, yet seems overall giddy about the transition:

Connecticut’s reputation for smooth operations "gives us a warm and fuzzy feeling,” Preston said.

Well that's nice for her, but I'm sure Marylanders don't feel so fuzzy after hearing about the millions of dollars that resulted in a broken website.

What a waste.