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DC Health Benefit Exchange Authority Recognized for IT Innovation in Serving Underrepresented Groups

Wednesday, December 4, 2019
DCHBX wins Sustainability and Equity Award in worldwide competition

(Washington, DC) –Today, the DC Health Benefit Exchange Authority (DCHBX) won the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Sustainability and Equity Award in the City on a Cloud Innovation Challenge. This is the third year in which AWS has recognized DCHBX for using IT innovation to solve government challenges.

The AWS City on a Cloud Innovation Challenge is a worldwide competition, and the Sustainability and Equity Award recognizes an organization that has deployed an innovative solution to address a challenge that involves environmental justice of an underrepresented group. In 2018 and 2016, DCHBX was named a winner of the Best Practices Award in the large city category of the City on a Cloud Innovation Challenge.

“It is an honor to be recognized by AWS as an innovation leader,” said Mila Kofman, J.D., Executive Director of the DC Health Benefit Exchange Authority. “By using open source technology in AWS Government Cloud, we were able to switch our training platform saving tens of thousands of dollars, improve our training and deliver the training in a more effective way to our community partners. We work with trusted community organizations to conduct in-person outreach targeted at underserved communities. It’s crucial that our partners have the most up-to-date and culturally appropriate training to effectively find hard-to-reach uninsured residents and get them covered.”

By awarding DCHBX its Sustainability and Equity Award, AWS is recognizing DCHBX’s success in implementing open source training tools to develop culturally relevant, always available training modules to empower partner organizations with the information they need to serve local, underserved communities. (Underrepresented groups can include, but not limited to,
communities of low to moderate income populations, recent immigrants, communities of color, youth, the elderly, individuals with disabilities, and LGBTQ individuals.)

In 2015, DCHBX moved to a cloud-based, open-source software using agile development. DCHBX can add new features without taking the web-site off line, and during deployments customers can continue to use the site, seeing new features next time they log-in. DCHBX is saving approximately $2 million annually from the switch to AWS from a traditional data center.

In 2018 and 2016, the DC Health Benefit Exchange Authority (DCHBX) was recognized for innovation in technology when it was named a winner of the Best Practices Award by Amazon Web Services for the City on a Cloud Innovation Challenge. In 2017, AWS chose DCHBX for a case study highlighting DCHBX’s innovative use of AWS’ technology as the first state-based health insurance marketplace to operate in the cloud.

DCHBX is responsible for DC Health Link, the on-line health insurance marketplace in the District of Columbia for small businesses and residents. There are 156 health plans available for small businesses from three United Health companies, two Aetna companies, Kaiser, and CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield. There are 25 health plans available for individuals from Kaiser and CareFirst.