8:04 AM, Jan 2, 2015 • By JERYL BIER
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is looking for vendors to run its "National Data Warehouse," a database for "capturing, aggregating, and analyzing information" related to beneficiary and customer experiences with Medicare and the federal Obamacare marketplaces. Although the database primarily consists of quality control metrics related to individuals' interactions with customer service, potential contractors are to "[d]emonstrate ... experience with scalability and security in protecting data and information with customer, person-sensitive information including Personal Health Information and Personally Identifiable information (personal health records, etc.)." Vendors are also instructed that one of the requirements of a possible future contract would be "[e]nsuring that all products developed and delivered adhere to Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliance standards."
For a number of years, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the division of HHS responsible for Medicare and now Obamacare also, has maintained a "national data warehouse" (NDW) related to the 1-800-MEDICARE helpline. The passage of the Affordable Care Act and subsequent establishment of the Marketplaces has expanded the scope of the NDW. The CMS notice explains the NDW as follows:
The NDW performs a significant role with oversight and monitoring functions under the Virtual Call Center Strategy (VCS) initiative and Medicare Reform legislation. The NDW acts as the central repository for capturing, aggregating, and analyzing information related to the beneficiary experience with Medicare and the consumer experience with Marketplaces. The NDW also serves as a foundation for operational and management reporting to support improved decision-making, business practices, and services to callers.
The type of data included in the NDW "includes information for CMS’ Virtual Contact Center operations including, but not necessarily limited to" items such as "Workforce management data,""Quality monitoring," "Medicare disenrollments," "Beneficiary satisfaction surveys," and "Web Chat metrics." The NDW is part of CMS's larger $15 billion "Virtual Data Center" program awarded to multiple vendors in 2012. The eventual vendor for the NDW must be able to integrate and share data with the other Virtual Data Center vendors.
The description for the "NDW Functional Requirements" included thirty-six items, several with multiple subpoints, and even this list is not meant to be "all inclusive" according to CMS. In addition to these functions, the "contractor shall implement a security program that adheres to CMS security standards." Interested vendors have until January 19, 2015, to respond.
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.
12:37 PM, Dec 23, 2014 • By ELI LEHRER
When Congress headed home for the year last week without renewing the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) many in the real estate, tourism, and insurance business predicted disaster. The Coalition to Insure Against Terrorism—a broad grouping representing everyone from real estate investors to sports leagues—blasted the inaction.
7:05 AM, Oct 28, 2014 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
Without offering an alternate theory for President Obama’s 42 percent approval rating — which was about the same even before it became obvious his foreign policy had tanked — the mainstream media is insisting that Obamacare isn’t driving this election. But Republican ads in Senate races say otherwise.
6:30 AM, Oct 19, 2014 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
In the wake of their passage of Obamacare, the Democrats have repeatedly claimed two things: Republicans don’t have an alternative, and in any case the health care debate is over. But a Washington Post editorial published Saturday makes it clear that neither of these claims is true.
8:01 AM, Oct 14, 2014 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
Analysis of Congressional Budget Office projections by the Senate Budget Committee finds that Obamacare will increase the deficit by more than $100 billion over the next decade.
8:48 AM, Sep 30, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
Even before the Healthcare.gov website disaster unfolded in October 2013, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) had been looking to the future. HHS announced in June of that year that Hewlett-Packard would be replacing Terremark, a Verizon subsidiary, as the main contractor hosting the federal insurance marketplace and data services hub.
1:08 PM, Sep 18, 2014 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
A new poll finds that 58 percent of likely voters are “more likely” to support members of Congress who vote to stop Obamacare’s taxpayer bailout of insurance companies. Half of that 58 percent (29 percent) are “much” more likely to do so. Meanwhile, only 15 percent of likely voters are “less likely” to support such members, with only 6 percent being “much” less likely to support them. In other words, almost four times as many voters would reward members of Congress for voting to stop the bailout as would punish them for doing so.
4:44 PM, Sep 8, 2014 • By JAMES C. CAPRETTA
Obamacare’s defenders are busy declaring victory again. Ezra Klein is touting a new survey of Obamacare benchmark premiums in some regions of the country as evidence that the law is defying the predictions of critics and working to cut costs rather than increase them.
7:41 AM, Aug 29, 2014 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
The Palm Beach Post reports that Florida Blue CEO Pat Geraghty is characterizing as “unfair” Marco Rubio’s argument that American taxpayers should not be forced to provide a bailout for health insurance companies that lose money under Obamacare. It’s not entirely clear whether Geraghty thinks it’s “unfair” to oppose the bailout, to call it that, or both. Regardless, Obamacare is poised to force taxpayers to help cover health insurers’ losses — and it’s harder to imagine a clearer example of a bailout, or of cronyism, than that.
3:31 PM, Aug 26, 2014 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
During President Obama’s second term, about the only thing more common than seeing him out on the golf course has been seeing polls highlighting the striking unpopularity of his signature legislation. Obama has golfed a reported 79 times so far in his sec
Nine in ten heard from clients again with post-enrollment problems.
8:33 AM, Jul 17, 2014 • By WHITNEY BLAKE
During the open enrollment period for the state and federal health care exchanges, each staff member and volunteer worked with an average of 1.8 people per day, according to a survey of assister programs released by the Kaiser Family Foundation.