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DC Exchange Is First to Pass Wave 2 of Federal IT Systems Testing

Thursday, May 9, 2013
The HBX IT team successfully established a secure network to transmit information.

Today, the District of Columbia Health Benefit Exchange (HBX) announced the successful completion of a federal review of its web-based Marketplace Exchange portal, which will allow consumers to access, research and choose affordable health coverage.  The District’s Exchange is the first of the nation’s state-based marketplaces to gain federal approval in the second phase or “wave” of required tests. 

“This is wonderful news for consumers who are looking to make better informed decisions about their affordable health care options,” said Councilmember Yvette M. Alexander, Chairperson, Committee on Health. “I’m glad that we are getting closer to a fully operational Health Benefit Exchange for District residents.”
 
The Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO), a division of the US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is currently evaluating eligible states’ ability to support and facilitate an online system that will meet the needs of consumers and small business owners. CCIIO will conduct several additional waves and has invited the District to participate in Wave 3 testing, due to begin later this month. The District asked to begin Wave 3 testing the first date such testing is available. 
 
“This significant accomplishment underscores the progress the Exchange has made in preparation of opening our doors on October 1st. The team has been working countless hours to make sure we are ready to provide our residents with access to quality coverage,” said Mohammad Akhter, M.D., Chairman of the HBX Executive Board.
 
By completing Wave 2 testing, the HBX was able to effectively establish a secure network, communicate and transmit information to the federal government, and receive information back from the federal hub. This accomplishment shows the Exchange’s ability to provide a safe and protected connection that will be used to relay information between the Exchange and the federal hub. 
 
“This accomplishment is reflective of the wonderful team effort led by staff from the DC Health Benefit Exchange, several DC government agencies, contractors, subcontractors and many other partners and stakeholders.  DHS is proud to be part of the team that is now leading the nation in establishing health coverage for all residents,” said David A. Berns, Director of the District of Columbia Department of Human Services.   
 
Wave 3 of testing will focus on the Exchange’s ability to securely share data with over 10 federal services. Some of these services include remote identity proofing; verifying lawful presence, annual household income and employer sponsored insurances; all of which will allow users to verify their identity and establish their eligibility for coverage and tax credits in the Exchange. 
 
“This is a major milestone for our team. The federal government has indicated to all conditionally certified state-based exchanges that states have to show substantial progress on IT.  Only states that demonstrate such accomplishment receive permission to continue moving forward as state-based exchanges,” said Mila Kofman, The Authority’s Executive Director.  “Passing Wave 2 testing and our initial document review means that the federal government is not taking steps to set up a federally facilitated exchange in the District. Once again, with the strong support from the City’s leaders, in a very short period of time, the District is proving to be a leader,” Kofman said.