This is a photo of Jim Wadleigh
Jim Wadleigh, CEO of Access Health CT Arielle Levin Becker /
This is a photo of Jim Wadleigh
Jim Wadleigh, new CEO of Access Health CT Arielle Levin Becker /

Jim Wadleigh, who has led Connecticut’s health insurance exchange on an interim basis since September, was named its chief executive Thursday.

Wadleigh has worked at Access Health CT since 2012, initially serving as chief information officer. Last August, the exchange’s board named him to serve as acting CEO after the departure of Kevin Counihan, who now leads the federal government’s exchange,

Bob Tessier, a member of the exchange’s board, said the human resources committee considered hiring a search firm to look for a chief executive but decided against it.

“It was a waste of time and money to try to find somebody better than you, Jim,” he told Wadleigh before the board voted unanimously for the appointment.

Wadleigh, 47, previously worked at CIGNA and Pratt & Whitney Aircraft.

As Access Health’s acting CEO, he oversaw the second open enrollment period under the federal health law, which ended Feb. 15. As of Feb. 13, 103,007 people had signed up for private insurance plans through Access Health. Exchange officials already are planning for the next enrollment period, which begins Oct. 1 and runs through Dec. 15.

Access Health is a quasi-public agency formed to help implement the Affordable Care Act. Its creation and initial operating costs were funded with federal grants, but Access Health, like other state-run exchanges, must become financially self-sustaining. It has been raising funds through an assessment on insurance plans. It’s anticipated to spend about $65 million this fiscal year.

The agency is also in charge of the state’s effort to create an all-payer claims database, a repository of health care claims data that could be used to analyze health care costs and the health of the population.

Separately, Access Health has been marketing its exchange system to other states for use in running their own insurance marketplaces. This year, Maryland used Connecticut’s system.

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Arielle Levin Becker covered health care for The Connecticut Mirror. She previously worked for The Hartford Courant, most recently as its health reporter, and has also covered small towns, courts and education in Connecticut and New Jersey. She 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 caregivers from the National Association of Health Journalists. She is a 2004 graduate of Yale University.

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