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DC Health Benefit Exchange Authority Selected as a Finalist for Best Practices as Part of City on a Cloud Innovation Challenge

Friday, June 3, 2016

Washington, DC – The DC Health Benefit Exchange Authority (DCHBX) was named a finalist for Best Practices Award by Amazon Web Services (AWS) City on a Cloud Innovation Challenge.  Cities, counties, and municipalities from all over the world submitted applications. According to AWS, the Best Practices Award will be given to a local or regional governmental entity that has deployed an innovative solution to solve a government challenge.

DCHBX is responsible for the on-line health insurance marketplace in the District of Columbia for small businesses and residents. District residents and businesses can shop and enroll in affordable quality health and dental insurance through DC Health Link. DC Health Link also allows residents to get eligibility determinations for public insurance called Medicaid and federal tax credits to reduce private health insurance premiums.  

According to Diane Lewis, Chair of the DCHBX Executive Board, “DCHBX had several important goals to accomplish and challenges to overcome:  (1) become financially self-sustaining and find cost effective IT solutions and (2) improve customer experience through commercial quality on-line website experience.”  

To accomplish these goals, DCHBX moved to an open-source software application and to a cloud-based environment for its private individual health insurance customers and employers purchasing coverage for their employees. DCHBX now uses an agile development approach, which is cost effective and allows DCHBX to quickly respond to customer suggestions and to deploy website improvements (as frequent as daily) without system down-time.  Prior to this new approach, DCHBX had hardcoded software, which required 8 to 12 months development cycles, expensive testing, and system down time to deploy. With open source code using an agile development approach in a commercially hosted government cloud, DCHBX saves money and has provided customers a better shopping and enrollment experience. The commercially hosted government cloud helped achieve cost-savings. 

“Our success is in large part due to the leadership of our Chief Information Officer, Suzanne Peck, and the talented IT team she assembled – part of the talent pool in the District’s hi-tech corridor,” said Mila Kofman, JD. Executive Director of the DC Health Benefit Exchange Authority. 

“I thank AWS for recognizing DCHBX as a leader in leveraging the cloud, open source technology and agile delivery to build a modern, scalable and sustainable on-line health insurance marketplace that can be a model for other states,” said Kofman.

The winner will be announced at the AWS Public Sector Summit June 20-21, 2016 at the Marriott Wardman Park in Washington, DC. Dan Thomas, Chief Engineer for the DC Health Benefit Exchange Authority, will speak on the first day of the conference as part of a technical breakout session dedicated to Hybrid IT Approaches and Technologies with the AWS Cloud.

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