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Health Care Reform:

Health Insurance & Affordable Care Act

Conn. Tries To Sell Its Obamacare Success

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"I think you can't just cut and paste, if it works in Connecticut, boom," Day says. "Doing that kind of organ transplant and reconnecting things can take longer."

She cautions that it's important to consider the complicated insurance markets in different states and their politics.

"States that have embraced having their exchange have a fair amount of buy-in from their governor's office, and the governors wanting to put their own stamp on what they're doing for their constituents," says Day.

Ego plays a role, too. States that seem like they are running successful exchanges may still need help behind the scenes, she says.

"They may not be publicizing all of this, but they're trying to make sure that they get out of that fingers-in-a-dike mode into something that is sustainable," Day says. "If [Connecticut] can help them do that, that would be tremendous."

NPR/KHN reached out to several states that have struggled to implement Obamacare. None confirmed contact with Connecticut, but Oregon said it is looking at technology alternatives should its vendor not deliver by the end of March, and Maryland officials said earlier this month that they are actively investigating their options. Just this week, the state fired its health care IT contractor and picked a new one.

Not everything is perfect in Connecticut. The state's Spanish language enrollment website just went live - with barely a month to go before open enrollment ends. Still, people who work for Counihan say Connecticut has a lot to offer.

"The second name of this city is the insurance capital of the world," says Jim Wadleigh, the chief information officer for Access Health CT. "As you look at our entire leadership team, we come from the Cignas, the Aetnas, the Uniteds, the Healthnets, all those companies. That is probably what's helped us be so successful. We understand health care."

They also understand timing. Counihan says states that need help getting ready for the next open enrollment in the fall have a few weeks to decide how to proceed. But the clock, he says, is ticking.

Thu, Feb 27 2014

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