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Exchange software should be shared [Letter]

As a retired systems engineer with over 20 years of in development of software systems, I have to question why it is necessary that each state develop its own software for the health insurance exchanges. There are 26 states that have their own health care exchanges. Some work better than others, but each essentially does the same things.

They screen people for applicability, screen for Medicaid qualifications, provide the present choices for insurance plans and offer a sign-up procedure.

Between states these are common functions, only the data (plans available, cost, etc.) is different for each state. It's crazy to have so many doing the same thing. It's like developing your own version of Microsoft Office.

In the near term, why can't the Maryland exchange simply license the software from California ("Md. exchange site still has glitches," Dec. 17)? Within days, it could get us up to the same functionality as the successful state (although we might have to port the data to a new database).

They may use different hardware and operating systems, but hardware is cheap compared to software development. In the long run, the 26 states could develop a consortium to maintain a common software operating environment, easing upgrades and software maintenance. Why can't Gov. Martin O'Malley give the governor of California a call?

In any event, the state should have chosen a developer who was certified by the Software Engineering Institute (SEI) with a certification of at least SEI Level 4.

Dan Nichols, Linthicum Heights

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To respond to this letter, send an email to talkback@baltimoresun.com. Please include your name and contact information.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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