10:31 AM, Dec 30, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
With the announcement Monday of a five-year, $563 million contract award to Accenture, the Healthcare.gov contractor that rescued the Obamacare marketplace after 2013's disastrous launch, the total cost of the site will well exceed $2.2 billion. The new award is on top of the $1.7 billion in contracts reported by the inspector general (OIG) of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in August.
Accenture was first hired in January after HHS replaced CGI Federal, the original contractor. Accenture reported the new award on its website, noting that not only will the company maintain current services, but is expanding its work to include the small business health plans marketplace (SHOP), and will also assist those state-based exchanges that have decided to transition to the federal site:
As the 2014 enrollment period closed successfully with Accenture’s support, work began to prepare for the 2015 enrollment. Accenture focused on simplifying the process for issuers to update plans, and implemented tools and processes to expedite the resolution of citizen inquiries. At the same time, Accenture worked with CMS to find new ways to streamline and improve the customer experience. CMS later expanded Accenture’s scope of work to include enhancements and additional functionality of the FFM, the SHOP and state-based exchange transitions. All of these efforts helped create a successful launch of the 2015 Open Enrollment season that continues through February 15, 2015.
Although the transition from CGI Federal to Accenture appears to have been successful, the government is still struggling with other aspects of the marketplace. Although Hewlett-Packard was selected to replace Verizon (Terremark) in June 2013 as the host for Healthcare.gov, Verizon was awarded an emergency contract just four weeks before the current open enrollment period began, extending its contract into 2015. The new Hewlett-Packard system is acting only as backup system and a "development environment" for the current open enrollment period.
2:50 PM, Nov 7, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
As 2015 open enrollment for Obamacare nears, Healthcare.gov has been telling consumers that "plans and estimated prices for 2015 coverage will be available in early November." Although signup is not possible until November 15, the website promises&nbs
9:29 AM, Oct 22, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
Healthcare.gov continues to prepare for open enrollment beginning on November 15, hoping to avoid a repeat of the disastrous launch in 2013. Apparently the preparations include extra "scheduled" maintenance. Wednesday morning, the site displayed a message reading, "The system isn’t available right now.
It’s not over yet. Oct 20, 2014, Vol. 20, No. 06 • By MICHAEL ASTRUE
President Obama has had to acknowledge two big lies of the Affordable Care Act: (1) You could keep your health insurance plan; and (2) the HealthCare.gov website would be fully operational at launch. Unless he acts with urgency, he will also be forced to apologize for assuring us that personal data received by the Department of Health and Human Services are secure.
10:43 AM, Aug 26, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
The federal government issued sixty contracts from 2009 to 2014 in efforts to build Healthcare.gov, the federal insurance marketplace.
12:09 PM, May 7, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Six health insurance executives testified on Capitol Hill today. And all six, each representing a different company, unanimously agreed: The Obamacare website is still not entirely fixed.
The witnesses included Frank Coyne of Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, Mark Pratt of America’s Health Insurance Plans, Paul Wingle of Aetna, Brian Evanko of Cigna, J. Darren Rodgers of Health Care Service Corporation, and Dennis Matheis of Wellpoint, Inc.
'No One Likes to Watch the Daily Show Make Fun of HHS'
9:01 AM, May 1, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
In October 2013, as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), a division of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), was launching Healthcare.gov, CMS also launched a quieter initiative. As part of Ignite, an internal HHS program designed to spur innovation, a team within CMS's press office designed a system to help CMS communicate more quickly and efficiently with the press.
11:22 AM, Apr 11, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Kathleen Sebelius had one final glitch on her way out the door. At her resignation celebtration at the White House Rose Garden today, she was missing the final page from her prepared remarks:
"Unfortunately, a page is missing," Sebelius said. The crowd laughed.
7:05 AM, Mar 18, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
Healthcare.gov has eliminated the web chat customer service option. Sometime around the beginning of March, the online chat feature that has been present since Healthcare.gov was launched disappeared.
12:48 PM, Mar 11, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
The top referrer to Healthcare.gov right now is the website Funny or Die. That's according to White House senior communications advisor Tara McGuinness.
McGuinness tweeted, "http://FunnyorDie.com is the #1 source of referrals to http://HealthCare.gov right now."
9:05 AM, Mar 7, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
Late last year the Wall Street Journal reported that Hewlett-Packard was replacing Verizon's Terremark subsidiary as the host of the federal government's Obamacare website, Healthcare.gov, when Terremark's contract expired in March 2014.
8:01 AM, Feb 25, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
Details of the Healthcare.gov rescue in the fall of 2013 continue to dribble out via months-old contracts and modifications posted online.