Health care

Massachusetts overhauls its ObamaCare site with new software

Massachusetts announced a “dual-track” plan Monday to fix its problem-plagued ObamaCare website, buying new software for the state-run site while preparing to move enrollment to the federal site.

State officials will buy an off-the-shelf application used on the state-run Colorado and Kentucky sites, instead of trying to fix months of problems. They also are preparing to send customers temporarily to the federal site,, if their site is not ready when ObamaCare enrollment resumes in the fall.

Massachusetts is not the first state to essentially scrap a problem-plagued site.

Last month, Oregon took its site off line and sent customers to the federal site, while Maryland pulled the plug on its site and adopted the system used by Connecticut -- collectively costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.

Massachusetts officials said the application they plan to purchase is named hCentive but did not say how much it would cost.

Sarah Iselin, a special assistant hired by Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick to oversee a fix for the website, said the strategy was aimed at creating a functional exchange before open enrollment starts Nov. 15 for Americans needing health insurance plans in 2015.

The federal site also had its share of technical problems – crashing and supplying incorrect information under the crush of online shoppers in the opening months.

After enrollment ended in mid-April, President Obama said the number of signups is more than 8 million, exceeding the projected goal by roughly 1 million. However, his administration has yet to release such key data as how many people have paid and the age-group breakdown for enrollees.