Conn. Exchange Leader Tapped To Be First HealthCare.gov CEO
On Tuesday, Kevin Counihan, who has led Connecticut's health insurance exchange, was named the first CEO of HealthCare.gov, the federal health insurance exchange website, The Hill reports (Viebeck, The Hill, 8/26).
Counihan will report to CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner. He takes over the position on Sept. 8.
In addition to heading the federal exchange, Counihan also will manage the Obama administration's relationships with state-run exchanges and oversee CMS' Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (Goodnough, New York Times, 8/26).
Counihan's Success in Conn.
Under Counihan's leadership, Access Health CT enrolled 79,000 state residents in health plans during the Affordable Care Act's first open enrollment period. According to WNPR/Kaiser Health News, Access Health CT successfully informed consumers of their options under the ACA, which led to higher enrollment (Cohen/Webber, WNPR/Kaiser Health News, 8/26).
Connecticut's exchange was so successful that Maryland purchased Access Health CT's software to replace its own problematic exchange (Sturdevant, Hartford Courant, 8/26).
Counihan's New Role
HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell, who created the position and hired Counihan, said he will be "a clear, single point of contact for streamlined decision making" (New York Times, 8/26). She added that HHS is "building strong teams with the focus and know-how necessary to advance our mission and deliver impact for the people we serve" (The Hill, 8/26).
Counihan in an interview said he intends to make the process for getting health coverage through the federal exchange, "whether it's enrollment or renewal, as easy and simple for people as possible." However, he noted it is still too soon to say whether a Congressional Budget Office estimate that about five million people will enroll in coverage during the upcoming open enrollment period is "practical or realistic" (New York Times, 8/26).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.