Feds won't renew health website's lead contractor

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 10, 2014 at 3:49 pm •  Published: January 10, 2014
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WASHINGTON (AP) — The government's much-maligned health insurance website is getting a new outside contractor to steer the revamped portal through the remainder of open enrollment season.

The Obama administration and lead website contractor CGI Federal said Friday they had mutually agreed to part ways on HealthCare.gov. The site's launch Oct. 1 embarrassed President Barack Obama and prompted a frantic reconstruction campaign. It largely works well now.

Government officials had little to say.

CGI's current contract will not be renewed after February, a person familiar with the situation said Friday. The person requested anonymity because of federal rules regarding the privacy of contractors.

Instead, the administration intends to hire Accenture, a major technology consulting company, to run the federal website serving 36 states.

CGI spokeswoman Linda Odorisio said in a statement that the company played a key role in turning the website around, and that it remains a federal contractor on other health care projects.

"We are proud that more than 400 CGI employees worked around the clock from October through December to deliver a consumer experience that works for a vast majority of Americans," she said.

The White House had hoped the website would make buying health insurance under the new law as easy as online shopping. Instead, HealthCare.gov choked up the day it was launched. Although hundreds of thousands of people tried to sign up, only a handful actually succeeded.

At first the administration said the problem was not enough equipment to handle a high level of consumer interest. But major software and design flaws quickly emerged. For example, unlike most e-commerce sites, HealthCare.gov had no way for prospective customers to browse health plans without first opening an account. That only created more computing work for the overwhelmed system.

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