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Massachusetts health care — wonky, with a healthy dose of reality

First Connector / MassHealth Dashboard Released - Almost 12,000 Processed in First Weekend [UPDATE - Now Almost 21,000]

First Connector / MassHealth Dashboard Released - Almost 12,000 Processed in First Weekend [UPDATE - Now Almost 21,000]

November 17, 2014

Daily Enrollment Dashboard for 11-17-14

The Health Connector, EOHHS and MassHealth just released their first "Daily Dashboard" (click to download),  showing the results from this past weekend's start of open enrollment.

It works - the results are very positive, with almost 12,000 people being determined eligible over the weekend.

HCFA's canvassing operation hit some 6,600 doors over the weekend, exceeding our goal.

Here's highlights from the state's release that accompanied the dashboard, including the HCFA statement towards the end:

4,948 immediately enrolled in MassHealth coverage, 6,972 qualify for Health Connector plans, set to take next steps of shopping, enrolling


BOSTON – Monday, November 17, 2014 – In the first two full days of Open Enrollment 2015, the new Massachusetts Health Insurance Exchange (“MA HIX”) website successfully determined 11,920 individuals and families eligible for Affordable Care Act (ACA) health insurance.

Over the weekend, the revamped Exchange attracted a total of 57,208 visitors and enrolled 4,948 into immediate ACA-compliant MassHealth coverage in real-time, a function last year’s website was never able to complete. The remaining 6,972 individuals and families were successfully determined eligible for Health Connector insurance plans. They are now able to take the next steps of shopping for quality, affordable insurance, enrolling in the plans of their choice and paying their first-month premiums, all online in a seamless end-to-end process. 3,600 individuals and families have already selected their plans and 137 have paid their first bill, five weeks in advance of the Dec. 23 deadline to take action for Jan. 1, 2015 coverage.

“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 ACA coverage,” said Maydad Cohen, the Governor’s Special Assistant for Project Delivery. “Now it’s up to us to build on the strong performance of the first two days, make sure every consumer using the site or calling the call centers enjoys the smoothest experience possible and finish critical IT upgrades scheduled for December.”

Cohen made his remarks while releasing the MA HIX project’s first daily dashboard measuring project performance. The dashboards – which going forward will capture daily statistics Tuesday-Friday and weekly data every Monday – are consistent with Governor Patrick and Cohen’s commitment to transparency, a project hallmark ever since the Governor put a single person in charge of the website turnaround and brought in new IT vendors at the beginning of 2014.

“This system is new to consumers, front line assisters and the market. Everyone’s comfort-level is going to grow day-by-day,” said Cohen. “On day one, we experienced higher call volumes in the morning because of some kinks we needed to work out on the operational side of the project. We took some swift steps – including adding 60 call center representatives and updating our Getting Started Guide with helpful tips – to be responsive and were ultimately able to reduce wait times from an average of 20 minutes to zero.”

In addition to call wait times, some consumers reported issues stemming from account creation and identity verification system requirements. Everyone, regardless of whether they previously created a Health Connector account and log-in, must set up a new account in order to access the new online system for 2015 coverage opportunities. Additionally, the ACA incorporates several program integrity measures, including requiring all states to confirm a consumer’s identity. If Massachusetts applicants encounter challenges with this part of the application, they can send the Health Connector certain identity verification documents to help advance the application process.

The Massachusetts Operations Command Center, the project’s technical and operational epicenter, opened for its third straight day at 7 a.m. Monday morning. The center, which houses over 100 IT, policy and business operations officials from the state, Optum, hCentive, Dell and Maximus, is responsible for providing constant systems monitoring, identifying issues that will impact consumers and the marketplace and developing and implementing solutions. Going into the first full weekday of Open Enrollment, the Commonwealth and its vendors will have over 500 customer service agents on the phones and processing applications, an increase of 370 from the weekend.


“I depend on the Health Connector for my health insurance. The online transaction was quick, the choices were broad and, for my money, I have much better coverage in 2015 than prior years,” said Jane Kramer, 58 years old, Lexington, Massachusetts

“This year's Open Enrollment experience since Saturday has been terrific, making it truly a pleasure to have canvassers out in the world inviting people to visit MAhealthconnector.org or to contact an assister to help them as they reapply for health insurance,” said Amy Whitcomb Slemmer, Executive Director of Health Care for All. “Health Care For All and our local partner organizations managed to reach almost 7,900 households during the first two days of Open Enrollment to educate the public and provide materials about what steps people must take between now and February 15, 2015.  We are delighted to collaborate with the Health Connector, MassHealth and the members of the Patrick administration who have worked tirelessly to improve operations and customer service in ways that will benefit millions of people in Massachusetts.  We thank Maydad, Jean, Kristin, Secretary Polanowicz and  Secretary Shor for their work and we look forward to working with the incoming members of the Baker administration to sustain, if not improve upon, the health care coverage rates in the Commonwealth, so that together we achieve health care for all.”

“With this fresh start, the Connector’s website can be the gateway to health security we always intended.  Our teams are working around-the-clock to make sure people’s health care needs are met – on the web or on the phone,” said Secretary of Administration and Finance Glen Shor, Chair of the Health Connector Board of Directors

“With this Open Enrollment period, Massachusetts can continue delivering nation-leading health care coverage for families and individuals,” said Health and Human Services Secretary John Polanowicz. “We are committed to ensuring access to high-quality, sustainable health care systems that will keep our Commonwealth healthy for generations to come.”

"We are very happy that so many of our members went on the website this weekend and now have health coverage for 2015," said Jean Yang, the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Health Connector. “We are going to continue to talk to our remaining members, who can complete an application, find out if they qualify for help paying for insurance and pick the best plan for them and their families.”

“MassHealth is proud to provide residents across our Commonwealth with access to quality, affordable health care,” said Medicaid Director Kristin Thorn. “With expanded enrollment options, we are happy residents can be determined eligible for MassHealth in real-time through the website, by phone and in-person throughout the Open Enrollment period and beyond.”