Dems stop bill seeking oversight of Colorado health exchange bonuses

Connect for Health Colorado has a friend with Democrats – Dems stop bill seeking oversight of Colorado health exchange bonuses – The Denver Post.

The state House Health, Insurance and Environment Committee on Thursday killed a Senate bill that would have required legislative approval of any pay bonus given to employees of the state health insurance exchange.

The Democrat-controlled committee voted 7-6 along party lines to indefinitely postpone Senate Bill 52, a three-line bill giving the Legislative Health Benefit Exchange Implementation Review Committee oversight over bonuses for all 40 to 50 employees of Connect for Health Colorado.

Bill co-sponsor Jon Keyser, R-Morrison, said Coloradans are required to pay a fee for a system that hasn’t been working properly, and it was reasonable for the legislative committee to have oversight of any federal taxpayer dollars paid out as bonuses.

“The (exchange) board of directors may view this as intrusive, … but sunshine is the best disinfectant,” Keyser said.

Sunshine would be good as Connect for Health is not a transparent organization. However I find this final paragraph most offending…

But committee Democrats defended the exchange’s performance as impressive— starting from scratch in a complex regulatory environment, they said. Another layer of review of employee compensation on top of review by the exchange board, which itself is appointed by the legislature, is unnecessary, said committee chairwoman Rep. Beth McCann, D-Denver.

I’m sorry, the Democrats live in an alternate universe. The exchanges performance is not impressive, no way now how. Most disappointing was the lack of improvement from 2014 to 2015 and the screw-ups in the Shared Eligibility System (SES) and auto-renewal.

SES was supposed to seamlessly take subsidy eligible applicants from Connect for Health Colorado to the Colorado PEAK (Medicaid) website where they applied for Medicaid and back again once a determination was made. Applying for Medicaid is necessary step if you wish to receive a subsidy on a monthly basis. If the applicant was accepted for Medicaid, then they were done. If they were denied, Medicaid determined their premium assistance, along with a case number and authorization number and in an ideal world they were returned to Connect for Health Colorado to resume shopping. It was expected that an immediate determination and a seamless shopping experience would occur for 80% of applicants. I think I had ONE applicant where that actually worked.

This process was riddled with errors, not the least of which is the Medicaid application itself, which I will hasten to point out is NOT under Connect for Health Colorado’s jurisdiction.

The auto-renewal process was supposed to make it easy to simply let an insured’s policy renew. Unfortunately, if an insured went into Connect for Health to shop for plans and simply followed their nose, the auto-renewal was cancelled without notice to the consumer. There WAS a way to shop where the auto-renewal wasn’t cancelled but a typical consumer would have no idea how to do that.

These two issues were major disappointments. Other issues were almost no improvements to the broker or consumer shopping experience (i.e. website interaction). Yes, there were some improvements and some were of note but there were so many other issues that could have been addressed with just a little programming time.

As a broker, I moved as much business that was not subsidy eligible off the exchange that I could. If you are NOT subsidy eligible and don’t expect to become eligible during the year (i.e. how secure is your job…) then there is absolutely NO reason to use Connect for Health Colorado.

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