Mass. Lawmakers Rip Handling of State Health Insurance Website

Administration officials are seeking a six-month extension to sign-up period

Massachusetts state lawmakers bashed the state health care website and the administration’s response to its problems during an oversight hearing Wednesday.

Lawmakers were fuming. They said they’ve been kept in the dark about problems with the site. Representative Marjorie Decker of Cambridge questioned the governor’s management of the process.

“I need some more assurance that we’re going to know going forward that we’re holding the right people accountable,” Decker said. “I’d like to know what happened over the past year when CGI knew they weren’t ready, they knew things weren’t going to be in place, why are we getting to it now?”

Health Care Executive Sarah Iselin was hired just last week to coordinate a fix for the website. She told lawmakers it could be many months before the site is working properly.

“It has not be able to handle the traffic influx from people trying to apply online for coverage, or even provide basic information to customers shopping on the site,” said Iselin. “Consumers are frustrated and in some cases scared.”

Iselin has asked the federal government for a six month extension to transfer people to federally compliant health plans.