A federal judge ordered on Tuesday two former lead contractors on Maryland's health exchange into arbitration to settle their differences.

Noridian Healthcare Solutions, once the exchange's prime contractor, and EngagePoint Inc., its main subcontractor, had been tied up in a court battle since shortly after the exchange's botched launch Oct. 1.

The judge in the U.S. District Court for Maryland said a contract the two had singed in April 2012 required the pair to settle claims in arbitration. The companies had blamed each other for shortcomings on the exchange, which still does not work properly.

Noridian fired EngagePoint and the state this week cut its ties to Noridian.