How Are States Building the Technology to Support Health Care Reform?

The June 2012 Supreme Court decision upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), including the creation of a seamless, streamlined and technology-enabled experience within the health insurance exchanges and Medicaid.

To successfully implement health reform, states will need to develop information technology (IT) systems that securely provide consumers with answers about their eligibility for public health insurance benefits or tax subsidies, and enhance their ability to enroll in health insurance coverage.

Interviews with states have confirmed that meeting the technical challenges and deadlines for establishing ACA-compliant IT systems provides unique opportunities as well as significant challenges. The ACA provides states with a once-in-a-generation opportunity to improve health and human services technology infrastructures. However, technology development is perhaps the most complicated and resource-intensive activity required of states seeking to operate state based exchanges in 2014.

For states evaluating the information technology needed for the ACA, collaboration with “early innovator” states and coordination with the federal government is crucial.

Regardless of the approach, states would be well advised to seek out the early innovators and other states more advanced in their planning to ask about lessons learned, to share best practices, artifacts and products, and to explore opportunities for accelerating their own implementation efforts and to better control short and long-term operational costs.

This Health Policy Snapshot, published in October 2012, examines the insights obtained from early innovators and the issues involved in reaching IT goals.

Read more from RWJF's Health Policy Snapshot series.