WMFE is Central Florida's primary provider of NPR programming on 90.7 FM and Classical Music on 90.7 HD2. Part of the community since 1965, WMFE focuses on providing quality national and local news and programming. We inspire and empower all Central Floridians to discover, grow and engage within and beyond their world.
CLOSEOpt Out: I already like WMFE!

Like us on Facebook!

Support for 90.7 WMFE is provided by

Healthcare.Gov Recruits Leader Of Successful Connecticut Effort

Under Kevin Counihan, Connecticut's health insurance exchange used concerts and storefront offices to reach customers.

The federal government has recruited the leader of one of the most successful state health insurance marketplaces to lead the federal health exchange, in the hope that the second year of Obamacare will go more smoothly than the first.

Kevin Counihan, the head of Connecticut’s health insurance marketplace, will be the new CEO of healthcare.gov, the website that 36 states use to sell insurance under the Affordable Care Act, the Obama administration announced Tuesday.

Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell tapped Counihan to lead the site as part of a revamped management structure.

Under Counihan’s leadership, Access Health CT signed up about 79,000 people for coverage through Connecticut’s exchange; another 120,000 gained Medicaid coverage. Surveys show that about half the people who gained coverage in the state were previously uninsured.

But taking the reins of healthcare.gov will be a much tougher job.

Connecticut has a Democratic governor and legislature, and it embraced the law early, including the expansion of Medicaid. Healthcare.gov serves states that are actively hostile to the law in the Deep South, as well as states that are adopting the law to a minimal degree and states that are active partners in running the exchange.

At a press conference in Hartford, Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy joked that Counihan should have his head examined for agreeing to go to Washington.. He also said that Burwell had called him to discuss Counihan, who confirmed that he had been recruited for the position.

Enrollment for Obamacare Year Two starts Nov. 15, and the challenges are many.

In addition to making sure the technical glitches stay in the rear-view mirror, Counihan will be responsible for keeping people who are already signed up satisfied, as well as reaching out to the millions of Americans who are eligible for coverage but not yet insured.

The Connecticut exchange excelled at marketing insurance, taking the pitch to Lil Wayne concerts, jazz festivals and a storefront on a city street. Counihan credits some of that success to the pool of talent he was able to draw on in Hartford, an insurance capital.

Counihan has several decades of experience in health care, including launching complex new coverage programs. After a career in the private insurance industry, including Tufts Health Plan and Cigna, he helped launch Massachusetts’ successful health exchange starting in 2006. He also helped launch a private insurance exchange in California.

This is the second high-profile addition to the Healthcare.gov second-year team. Earlier this summer HHS brought on Andy Slavitt, who helped fix the site’s initial problems as an executive with contractor Optum.

Copyright 2014 Kaiser Health News. To see more, visit http://www.kaiserhealthnews.org/.

Sign Up For 90.7 WMFE's Newsletter

Catch up on the latest Central Florida news and get updates on programs, events and more.

SUBSCRIBE

WMFE Journalistic Ethics Code | Public Media Code of Integrity

TOP