U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Secretary Sylvia Secretary Burwell has selected Kevin J. Counihan, who oversaw the successful launch of Connecticut’s health insurance exchange, to be the first CEO of HealthCare.gov. The New York Times has stated that Secretary Burwell made the selection “as part of an effort to improve management of the federal marketplace and to avoid the technological failures that paralyzed its website, HealthCare.gov, last fall.”
In his newly created position, Mr. Counihan faces many challenges, including attempting to increase enrollment in the federal health insurance exchange system during the open enrollment period that begins November 15, 2014, finishing back-end systems with insurers, dealing with the need for about 300,000 people to provide proof of citizenship to avoid losing coverage next month, and re-enrollment of this year’s customers.
The filling of the CEO position follows a July report from the Government Accountability Office that criticized the lack of a single point of contact for HealthCare.gov. The report stated that, in part, “there was confusion about who had the authority to approve contractor requests to expend funds for additional work.” Mr. Counihan will formally assume his new position on September 8, 2014.