Kentucky’s Obamacare website’s success resulted from careful and early testing, unlike the federal website, writers say

While Kynect, Kentucky’s online health insurance marketplace, is being hailed as the country’s best Obamacare website, the federal government’s $634 million website continues to marred by technological glitches and bad press.

“The Kentucky Kynect likely takes the award for most written-about Obamacare marketplace — and for good reason,” reports Sarah Kliff of The Washington Post. “It had one of the most flawless launches of any state marketplace, posting robust application numbers on Oct. 1. So far, the state reports that 26,174 people have enrolled in private insurance or Medicaid.” That figure was through Oct. 24.

Kentucky’s success resulted from the creation and careful testing of a pared-down website before the Oct. 1 deadline, writes Dylan Scott on Talking Points Memo. Beshear officially created the marketplace, Kynect, without approval from the General Assembly on July 17, 2012, a few weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the law. In October 2012, the state hired software developers to build the technological infrastructure behind the marketplace.

Testing was undertaken throughout every step of the process, Carrie Banahan, Kynect’s executive director, told Scott. The system was developed from January to March of these year, was developed by June, and began testing in July, he reports.

On the other hand, testing for the federal website began just two weeks before the launch. Private contractors in charge of building the federal online health insurance marketplace said that the administration went ahead with the Oct. 1 launch of despite warnings of insufficient testing, reports The Washington Post.

“This system just wasn’t tested enough,” said Julie Bataille, communications director for the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

Frustration with the federal rollout continues to grow, but Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Gov. Beshear defended Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and President Obama and told Obamacare critics to take it easy.

“Look, this is going to take some time to get done, but everybody needs to chill out because it is going to work,” said Beshear.

Kentucky received $252 million from the federal government to set up Kynect, and about $23.8 million of that was applied to contracts and outside vendor payments. Although startup costs for the exchange are being covered by federal grants, the state will be responsible for all funding beginning in 2015. It plans to get the money with assessments on insurance companies using the exchange, but that may prompt a battle in the 2014 General Assembly.

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