- The Washington Times - Monday, November 17, 2014

The Obamacare exchange in Massachusetts deemed nearly 12,000 eligible for private health plans or coverage through its Medicaid program during the first weekend of open enrollment — a stark turnaround from web troubles in the commonwealth last year.

Officials said 6,972 individuals and families were processed along the exchange-plan route, while 4,948 were enrolled into its MassHealth program “in real-time, a function last year’s website was never able to complete.”

“The website was stable, reliable and it did exactly what we built it to do: serve as a tool to connect Massachusetts residents to the health and economic benefits of [Affordable Care Act] coverage,” said Maydad Cohen, a special assistant tapped by the governor to fix the exchange.

The state unveiled a daily “dashboard” feature that will capture daily statistics on enrollment from Tuesday to Friday and offer weekly data each Monday.

They said the feature is part of Gov. Deval Patrick’s “commitment to transparency,” after the state ran into numerous problems with its technology during Obamacare’s first round, even though state-level reforms from 2006 served as the model for Obamacare on a national scale.

The governor put a single person in charge of the exchange project and brought in new tech vendors to overhaul its web platform.

Maryland also runs its own exchange and revamped its technology before Obamacare’s second round, while Nevada and Oregon decided to use the federal HealthCare.gov website instead of overhauling their troubled state portals.

Users had created more than 2,000 accounts on the Maryland Health Connection as of midday Monday, starting 1,500 applications for coverage and completing 500.

Tyler Klimas, a spokesman for the Nevada exchange, said the first few days went “fairly smoothly” and they received steady foot traffic at enrollment “stores” in Las Vegas and Reno, where applicants can get in-person help.

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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