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Counihan departing Access Health CT

8/26/2014
HBJ Photo | Matthew Volpini
HBJ Photo | Matthew Volpini
Kevin Counihan
Access Health CT CEO Kevin Counihan, who spearheaded Connecticut's largely successful first round of Obamacare enrollment through the state's public insurance exchange, is departing for a federal job, federal officials announced.

Access Health has scheduled a noon press conference Tuesday to make the announcement. No replacement will be named today, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Counihan is leaving to take a position within the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services as marketplace chief executive officer.

HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell said in a statement that Counihan's hire is intended to ensure a successful 2015 open enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplace and make good on the promise that millions more Americans will be able to access quality, affordable health coverage.

In his new role, Counihan will lead the federal marketplace, manage relationships with state marketplaces, and run the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, which regulates health insurance at the federal level.

Access Health enrolled more than 280,000 people during Obamacare's inaugural enrollment period, which ended March 31. Access Health disclosed earlier this month that more than half of those enrollees were uninsured at the time of enrollment.

But the exchange also suffered a data breach in June, when a call center vendor left a backpack containing customer data outside a Hartford store. As many as 400 customers' information could have been compromised, officials said.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy praised Counihan, calling his new job "a ringing endorsement of the success we've had implementing the Affordable Care Act in Connecticut."