Firm chosen to build tech side of Minn. insurance exchanges

The state Commerce Department has chosen a Virginia company to build the technical part of its health insurance exchange.

The state-based exchanges are a cornerstone of the federal health care law and in about a year and a half, will allow individuals and small groups to comparison shop for health insurance.

Commerce awarded the $41 million contract to MAXIMUS of Reston, Va., which with several subcontractors, will create the Minnesota's exchange. Maximus bills itself as the leading administrator of Medicaid services in the U.S. The subcontractors include IBM, Connecture based in Waukesha, Wis., and Florida-based EngagePoint.

"They turned out to be the best in order to fit what we wanted to do in Minnesota," said Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman. "They have the capabilities and have some experience. And they're also working with several other vendors to help with some of the pieces of it."

States must show they can operate an exchange by early next year or default to a federal designed exchange. Minnesota is further ahead in planning its exchange than most other states but much is still required to meet the federal deadline.

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