Why state exchange leaders surrender

As open enrollment gets into full swing, some state health insurance exchanges are in the midst of a leadership shakeup. The executive director of Maryland's health insurance, for instance, stepped down from her post this month amid criticism and technical problems.

Rebecca Pearce resigned hours after the Baltimore Sun reported that Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown questioned her competency for taking a week-long vacation during ongoing site repairs, according to the Washington Business Journal.

Pearce also was displeased with project leadership changes Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) made to help resolve the botched Maryland Health Benefit Exchange rollout, a senior O'Malley administration official told the Washington Post.

As of Nov. 30, more than 3,750 Maryland residents enrolled in private plans through the state's exchange, the Post noted.

Hawaii's exchange is also suffering continuing difficulties. Late last month, the head of the state's online health-insurance exchange, Coral Andrews, announced her resignation, Pacific Business News reported.

She left her position as executive director of the Hawaii Health Connector on Dec. 6, and said it was time for a new leader to take over the online marketplace. "The Hawaii Health Connector has been my baby and has required constant nurturing and attention, although in many ways it is still growing and changing and it has reached a point where I need to let go and let someone else take charge," she said, noted the Pacific Business News.

Hawaii delayed its exchange implementation two weeks after its Oct. 1 rollout date, and only 257 people enrolled in coverage through the Hawaii Health Connector as of Nov. 15.

And the leader of Oregon's state-run marketplace, the worst in the country with not one person enrolled as of Nov. 27, stepped down last week for medical leave and may not return, according to the Oregonian.

Cover Oregon Director Rocky King said the online marketplace is in final testing mode and expects it to be operational later this month. What's more, on Monday, the exchange forwarded the information of more than 3,200 people to the Oregon Health Authority in order to enroll them in the Oregon Health Plan, the Oregonian noted.

King, who has battled illness through the year, was put on notice last month. Board members held an executive session to discuss King's performance and passed resolutions calling for new plans and new target dates, KOIN reported.

Even with technical glitches and enrollment roadblocks, the 14 state-run exchanges have experienced a smoother enrollment process than their federal counterpart, FierceHealthPayer previously reported.

To learn more:
- read the Washington Business Journal article
- check out the Post article
- here's the Pacific Business News article
- read the Oregonian article
- check out the KOIN article

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