Early Innovator grant helps UMMS lead in health reform implementation

By Mark Shelton

UMass Medical School Communications

February 08, 2012
   Jay Himmelstein, MD, MPH

Massachusetts is leading the way in the design and development of information technology infrastructure crucial to national health reform—so far ahead of other states that the Washington, DC-based blog Politico Pro recently took notice. A news story covered the New England States Collaborative for Insurance Exchange Systems (NESCIES) and its work on an Early Innovator collaborative agreement administered by Commonwealth Medicine and principal investigator Jay Himmelstein, MD, MPH, professor of family medicine & community health and medicine, and the chief policy strategist in the Center for Health Policy and Research. 

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded seven Early Innovator grants to help states develop the infrastructure necessary for health insurance exchanges as called for in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The NESCIES collaborative is unique because it involves several states, and it builds on Massachusetts health reform, a functioning Health Insurance Exchange (The Massachusetts Health Connector) and related policy work performed by UMMS and the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services.

“It will not be as much of a lift to build the exchange portal for Massachusetts, since we already have a fully functioning exchange,” Dr. Himmelstein told Politico. “We have built in enough time. We’ll be able to deliver. The big challenge is: Can the systems be built in time to fully integrate with other states’ systems?”

Health insurance exchanges will use web-based portals to facilitate enrollment in affordable quality health plans by providing real-time eligibility determination, a modern “shopping experience” including comparative information on health plans, and appropriate subsidies for individual consumers and businesses.

Read the full article on the POLITICO Pro website (subscription required).

Related links:
Jay Himmelstein quoted in health insurance exchange article

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