Access Health CT marketing Obamacare “exchange in a box”

Connecticut’s health insurance exchange has run more smoothly than many of its counterparts across the country, and now officials at the state’s insurance marketplace are in discussions about franchising the system to other states.

The concept is to market a “turnkey”-type exchange program that other states could use, rather than building their own insurance marketplaces from scratch, said Kevin Counihan, CEO of Access Health CT, the state’s exchange. He refers to it as an “exchange in a box.”

Counihan said Access Health officials have met with officials from five states about the idea.

Connecticut is one of 16 states that, along with Washington, D.C., are operating their own exchanges as part of the federal health law commonly known as Obamacare. Some, like Connecticut's, have had stable systems and relatively smooth enrollment processes, while others have faced significant problems.

The other 34 states have exchanges that are fully or partially run by the federal government and rely on the website, which was plagued by significant problems when it launched in October. Some of those states could elect to run their own exchanges in the coming years, but it’s not certain whether the federal government will provide millions of dollars for them to launch their own systems, as it did for Connecticut and the other states running their own exchanges.

Access Health currently has three divisions: the exchange, which sells private insurance plans and enrolls people in Medicaid; Access Health Analytics, which is developing an all-payer claims database to gather and provide information about health care use and costs in Connecticut; and Access Health Exchange Solutions, which is marketing the exchange’s services to other states.

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About Arielle Levin Becker

Arielle Levin Becker was a finalist in 2009 for the prestigious Livingston Award for Young Journalists, a recipient of a Knight Science Journalism Fellowship and the third-place winner in 2013 for an in-depth piece on home caretakers from the National Association of Health Journalists. Arielle previously worked for The Hartford Courant, most recently as its health reporter. She also has covered education and municipal beats for The Courant and for the Home News Tribune of East Brunswick, N.J. She is a 2004 graduate of Yale University. E-mail her at