HealthCare.gov To Get New Contractor; Hawaii To Close Exchange

May 15, 2015 in News

On Thursday, officials for Optum, the contractor chosen to lead efforts to fix HealthCare.gov, said the company will not continue overseeing the site once its contract ends, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Optum was among multiple contractors working on HealthCare.gov prior to its launch in October 2013, and was later chosen to head efforts to get the site functioning at a basic level by Thanksgiving. The Obama administration then renewed the company’s contract as part of plans to overhaul the site. The contract is valued at $40 million per year.

HealthCare.gov operated noticeably better during the second enrollment period and generally was free of system-wide problems, according to the Journal. However, issues remain on the site’s back end.

Optum spokesperson Matt Stearns said the company was “confident that HealthCare.gov will remain a stable and reliable platform,” without oversight from the company. Optum will continue to run HealthCare.gov’s data services hub and identity management systems.

The contract is slated to end in July, though Optum might continue to work on the contract for a transition period.

Stearns said that not renewing the contact will allow the company to “assist in other projects and leverage our ability to develop and operate large transactional systems that advance health care” (Radnofsky, Wall Street Journal, 5/14).

Hawaii To Shut Down State-Run Exchange

Last week, Hawaii officials announced they will discontinue operations on the state’s exchange by Sept. 30, Government Technology reports.

According to Government Technology, the state had received $205 million in federal funding to create and operate Hawaii Health Connector. However, officials wrote in a report earlier this month that “the state will not provide sufficient support for the [exchange's] operations through fiscal year 2016,” so “the Connector can no longer operate in a manner that would cause it to incur additional debts or other obligations for which it is unable to pay” (Government Technology, 5/13).

According to InsuranceNewsNet, the exchange’s 37,000 enrollees will be able to re-enroll through the federal exchange for the 2016 enrollment period (InsuranceNewsNet, 5/9).

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