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DC Health Benefit Exchange Authority Wins Award for Best Practices

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Washington, DC – The DC Health Benefit Exchange Authority (DCHBX) was named a winner of the Best Practices Award from the Amazon Web Services (AWS) City on a Cloud Innovation Challenge.  Cities, counties, and municipalities from all over the world submitted applications.  AWS recognizes local and regional governments as hubs of innovation, and winners are recognized for having deployed an innovative solution to solve a government challenge.  DCHBX was selected along with the City of Los Angeles, the New York Public Library, and Utah.Gov as winners of the Best Practices Award in the large government category.* Other finalists included the City of Kansas City (MO), Multnomah County (OR), Douglas-Omaha Technology Commission, Open Colorado, and Live Better Idaho.

“It’s an honor to be recognized by AWS as an innovator in the IT space said Mila Kofman, J.D., Executive Director of the DC Health Benefit Exchange Authority. “Improving customer experience and expanding access to affordable quality health insurance using cost effective IT solutions was our goal. Thanks to the leadership of our Chief Information Officer, Suzanne Peck and our Chief Engineer, Dan Thomas, and the  talented IT team assembled from the District’s hi-tech corridor, we built a customer friendly cloud-based online health insurance marketplace using open source code and an agile development approach. Using a cloud-based approach, we succeeded in building a cost-effective, reusable IT solution.”

* This press release has been updated to reflect a complete list of winners.

Background
DCHBX is responsible for the on-line health insurance marketplace under the Affordable Care Act 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 DCHealthLink.com. 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.  

DCHBX moved to an open-source software application and 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.