Feds says Maryland is on track to launch new health exchange website

Federal regulators expressed confidence this week in Maryland's move to new technology to run its health exchange website.

In a letter to Gov. Martin O'Malley dated Aug. 4, the top official from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said it had reviewed the cost and feasibility of using the same platform as used in Connecticut.

CMS' approval and ongoing oversight are necessary for the state to make the change, which was needed because the current website used by the uninsured and underinsured to buy health coverage has never worked properly, causing problems for thousands.

More than 400,000 eventually signed up for insurance through that exchange, most receiving coverage from the expansion of the Medicaid program for low-income residents, but others buying through work-arounds rather than directly through the website.

The letter from CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner said the state was on schedule with 17 of 21 milestones met.

The letter was expected, according to Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein, state health secretary. He said the state will continue to work with CMS to ensure the final milestones are met ahead of the next open enrollment period beginning Nov. 15.

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