Highs and Lows for Access Health CT

Dec 18, 2013

Kevin Counihan
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

Connecticut's rollout of the Affordable Care Act has gotten its share of praise. But it's had its share of challenges, too.

Kevin Counihan runs Access Health CT, the agency handling the state's implementation of the new health care law. He said of the more than 300,000 people without insurance in Connecticut, over 47,000 have enrolled for coverage since October 1.

"We're getting about 1,400 enrollments a day," Counihan said.

Counihan spoke on a conference call with reporters from across the country. During the call, he said that half of the enrollees are signing up for Medicaid, the state and federal health insurance program for the poor. The other half are signing up for private plans. Of those, 70 percent are getting subsidies.

But Counihan also spoke of a couple glitches. One is that Maximus, the company that handles the call center, didn't have enough people taking calls. Counihan said they anticipated about 4,000 calls a day; they're getting 6,000. He also said the calls were more complicated than he first thought they'd be.

"What isn't going as well for us is our call center," he said. "In part because the calls -- they're roughly three times what we had two weeks ago, and so we didn't staff up fast enough for the calls. So we've increased our call center staff by over 50 percent beginning on Monday. But that's an area that we're not happy with."

Lastly, Counihan said the state hasn't yet rolled out its Spanish language enrollment website.

"That's delayed," he said. "It's not something we're happy about. We'd like it up earlier, but that's just been the way it is to keep our system stable."

Counihan said the Spanish site should be up in a month.