Aetna’s CEO Says Testing Of Health Exchange Is Happening “On The Fly”

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Aetna CEO Mark T. Bertolini on Monday told CNBC’s Squawk Box that testing of the federal government’s health exchange is happening on the fly after an expectedly difficult launch on Oct. 1.

Bertolini said Aetna helped the federal government build blueprints for the health exchange, an online marketplace where people buy medical coverage offered by private insurers.

“As they started missing deadlines, we were pretty convinced that it was going to be a difficult launch,” Bertolini said on Squawk Box.

A major part of the Affordable Care Act, often called Obamacare, was the launch on Oct. 1 of online health insurance marketplaces where people can buy health insurance. Some states designed and are operating their own systems, including Connecticut. Others are defaulting to the federal government for the online shopping, and there have been some technical problems on the federal level.

Bertolini said the way to implement a project of this scope and size is do a series of tests for units, applications, integration, scale and user experience.

“That’s happening on the fly,” Bertolini said of testing.

A major question that still remains is whether people will sign up to make it work, Bertolini told CNBC.

For CNBC’s report, click here.

About Matthew Sturdevant

Full-time staff journalist at The Hartford Courant and magazine freelancer with a master's degree in writing from Dartmouth. My work has appeared in The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, Taiwan News, The Baltimore Sun and many other news sources. My blog has been referenced by Politico.com, the Kaiser Family Foundation, the Georgetown Law Library and a number of organizations in healthcare and business. Sturdevant’s blog is "a well-written wealth of ideas," said The Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism, (businessjournalism.org, May 18, 2011). I have experience writing for newspapers, magazines, Web sites and blogs as well as shooting and editing video. I made regular appearances on news-talk radio and on the NBC affiliate station in Corpus Christi, Texas. I made occasional appearances on the Fox affiliate in Connecticut promoting Hartford Courant articles.

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