CGI Federal, one of the contractors that’s been held at least partially responsible for Obamacare’s rocky rollout this past fall, is parting ways with the Obama administration. The government has selected a different consulting firm, Accenture, to take over the work on the federal Healthcare.gov site.
“As CMS moves forward in our efforts to help consumers access quality, affordable health coverage, we have selected Accenture to become the lead contractor for the HealthCare.gov portal and to prepare for next year’s open enrollment period,” the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services confirmed in a statement. “We are pleased that more than 1.1 million consumers already have enrolled in a private plan in the federal Marketplace thanks to existing efforts and look forward to working with all of our contract partners to ensure a smooth transition of this work.”
Immediately after the news of CGI’s replacement was announced, the company’s shares took a three percent hit.
CGI Federal’s contract with the federal government is up in February. The Obama Administration had the option of renewing it — but decided against it, “after concluding that CGI has not been effective enough in fixing the intricate computer system underpinning the federal Web site,” according to the Washington Post.
After Healthcare.gov first launched in October, the website was plagued with technological glitches that prevented many Americans from being able to enroll in health coverage on the new exchanges. The Obama administration admitted that working on a tight timeline prevented them from thoroughly testing every aspect of the site before it launched. CGI maintained that the company was not responsible for the aspects of the site that contributed to backlogs and delays, saying that the website was simply overwhelmed by traffic. Nonetheless, the contractor was blamed for many of the initial issues with Healthcare.gov, which persisted throughout the first two months of Obamacare’s open enrollment period. By the beginning of December, federal officials reported that most of the issues with the site had been resolved, although there are still some lingering issues that are impacting some Americans’ ability to enroll in coverage.
Accenture built California’s exchange site, which had fewer technological issues than the federal website. California’s exchange — the largest of the 14 insurance marketplaces that are being operated by states — successfully enrolled more than 400,000 people before the December 23 deadline to obtain coverage beginning this month. Now, the company will be responsible for readying Healthcare.gov for its next open enrollment period in the fall.
Even outside of Healthcare.gov, the federal government is considering changes to the way it currently handles technology-related contractors. The Washington Post reports that the White House may establish an office to oversee all of the IT projects across agencies.