By Allison Bell
The board of Nevada's state-based health insurance exchange has picked a state welfare services manager to help lead efforts to get operations on track.
Steve Fisher, a deputy administrator at the Nevada Division of Welfare and Supportive Services, will become the interim executive director of the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange.
Fisher has been in charge of his division's efforts to conduct program eligibility review for the exchange.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act individual "qualified health plan" open enrollment season began Oct. 1 and is set to end March 31.
The Nevada exchange, which does business as Nevada Health Link, originally hoped to attract 118,000 enrollees. Staff members say the exchange now has only about 18,000.
Users, enrollers and brokers have complained about problems with the exchange enrollment website and difficulties with getting timely access to knowledgeable call center representatives.
Fisher said he has worked in technology programs for 21 years, and state technology programs for 14 years.
The exchange board decided at a meeting Thursday to pick Fisher as a single interim exchange chief instead of having two other managers act as part-time co-interim executive directors.
The board also agreed to keep Xerox, the exchange Web and call center contractor, but talked about the possibility of bringing in another company to oversee the contractor's work.
In a review of "implementation recovery plan options," the board staff suggested that one option might be to give up efforts to run a stand-alone state-based exchange and get enrollment services from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
During the board meeting, Shawna DeRousse said even becoming an HHS-run exchange would take a tremendous amount of time.
Another challenge is that, even if the HHS HealthCare.gov enrollment system front-end is working better, the system's ability to handle appeals and other back-end processes might have problems, and the states are not sure how that system is really doing, DeRousse said.
The board is talking about hiring Deloitte consultants to analyze the entire business system effort and make recommendations.
The board also will try to use internal Nevada government information technology staffers to manage the Xerox team more closely.
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Originally published on BenefitsPro.com