Governor Dannel P. Malloy will join Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman, Access Health CT CEO Kevin Counihan and a group of consumers for a news conference to kick-off open enrollment of Access Health Connecticut, the state's official health care coverage marketplace under the Affordable Care Act this afternoon.
This online health insurance exchange begins operations today, with the goal of connecting individuals and businesses with private carrier benefit plans to facilitate ease of comparison of benefits coverage and rates.
Access Health CT (also known as the Exchange) was created by the Connecticut Legislature in 2011 and is a quasi-public agency established to satisfy requirements of the federal Affordable Care Act. Its mission is to increase the number of insured residents in Connecticut, promote health, lower costs and eliminate health disparities. Its vision is to provide a simple online shopping and enrollment experience for state residents and small businesses, starting with open enrollment in October 2013.
Access Health CT will ensure that participating health plans meet certain standards, and will facilitate competition and choice by rating the quality of each plan. Individuals and families buying coverage through the Exchange may qualify for tax credits on premiums. The Exchange will also coordinate eligibility and enrollment with state Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Programs. More information is available at www.AccessHealthCT.com
As activity begins in Connecticut, and nationally, the organization cautions, there will likely be issues with system performance in the early phases of operation. Rigorous testing has occurred over several months to identify and eliminate defects evident on the web site, ensure full compliance with privacy and security standards, and coordinate complex back-end data processes which are used to transfer information. However, it is likely that additional errors will continue to be discovered once live and actual users begin engaging with the system and providing real world interactions.
“This was a massive three year IT implementation, crammed into about ten months,” said Kevin Counihan, CEO of Access Health CT. “We know there will be defects that we will continue to uncover as we roll out this system to residents. As issues are identified, we are committed to fixing them quickly, as well as reaching out to individuals who may be affected as needed.”
“We have a deep commitment to providing an excellent consumer experience and customer service,” said Peter Van Loon, Chief Operating Officer for Access Health CT. “Should we find any system issues which impact these, we will be letting effected individuals know. Additionally, if we uncover substantial system wide problems, we are also open to temporarily shutting the system down while we address them.”
The open enrollment period runs from October 1 through March 31 of 2014. Individuals can begin the year with coverage if they enroll before Dec 15.