Minnesota moves on health exchange, selects MAXIMUS

In one of the first major contract moves since the Supreme Court’s health care ruling on health care reform, Minnesota has chosen MAXIMUS to build out its health insurance exchange. Health Insurance Exchanges are a key part of federal health care reform which gives states the option to build their own marketplace for comparing types of available health coverage or having a generic federal exchange implemented for them. The contract is being managed through the Governor’s office despite opposition from the Republican state legislature.

Minnesota has entered into a $41 million dollar contract with MAXIMUS to design and develop the technical capabilities, the contract will also modernize the state’s Medicaid program. The state estimates that more than 1.2 million people will use the exchange statewide.

The Minnesota health insurance exchange development will include the deployment of StateAdvantage, a complete health insurance exchange solution developed through an alliance between Connecture, Inc. and MAXIMUS. Other MAXIMUS subcontractors include IBM, utilizing the IBM Curam solution for healthcare reform, and EngagePoint (formerly known as Consumer Health Technologies).The contract is expected to begin this month and will run through March 2014.

“The awarding of this contract represents a significant opportunity for MAXIMUS as we begin to gain traction and establish our leadership role in this emerging market,” noted Richard A. Montoni, Chief Executive Officer of MAXIMUS.

Prior to the Supreme Court ruling on health care reform, CivSource reported on a proposal from local Republican lawmakers to institute personal health savings accounts as an alternative. Lawmakers considered the proposal to be a ‘free market’ alternative to the health insurance exchange which provides information on policies available for purchase on the private market within the state. Some plans on the exchange may include government subsidies for individuals unable to afford the full cost of private coverage.

Republican lawmakers have abstained from participating in any of the exchange planning at the state level and contend that the exchange, which is supported by Governor Mark Dayton, will not produce the results the Governor claims. The Dayton administration has moved forward with the exchange despite Republican opposition, noting that he prefers a customized state-based solution to the generic federal option that will be implemented if the state fails to act.

The MAXIMUS contract also includes a modernization of the state’s Medicaid program. As CivSource reported in February, the state’s program was federally investigated over allegations about improper spending of Medicaid dollars. Federal health care reform includes an expansion of state Medicaid eligibility to provide more insurance options to low-income citizens. In its ruling, the Supreme Court made this expansion optional and several states have since opted out. Governor Dayton has not indicated that his state will opt out and the modernization may indicate the expectation of increases to Medicaid rolls.