Federal agencies have hired many think tanks and health insurers to help with implementing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA)

Analyst at the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) have listed the contractors in a PPACA contracting report prepared for Congress to carry out a provision of the Department of Defense and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act.

The major awarders of federal PPACA contracts have been the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) assistant secretary in charge of implementing PPACA, who has awarded about $706 million in contracts; the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), which has awarded $20 million in contracts; and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), which has awarded $35 million in contracts.

HHS has awarded about $600 million of its contracts to the companies, agencies and other entities running Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) risk pool programs.

State risk pool agencies have received many of those grants.

In some states, such as Ohio and Rhode Island, health insurers are administering PCIP programs. In Rhode Island, for example, the contractor in charge of PCIP is Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island, Providence, R.I.

The contractor running PCIP services for residents of states that opted against running their own PCIP programs is Government Employees Health Association (GEHA), Lee’s Summit, Mo. The initial Rhode Island Blue PCIP contract has a value of $645,840, and the initial GEHA PCIP contract has a value of $54 million.

CMS has been using think tanks such as Mathematica Policy Research, Princeton, N.J., Lewin Group, Falls Church, Va., a unit of UnitedHealth Group Inc., Minnetonka, Minn. (NYSE:UNH), to implement PPACA provisions that require it to set up new programs, such as a program for helping people move out of institutions, CMS also has awarded CNA Corp., Chicago, a $6.6 million contract to have it help with a long term care background check program created by PPACA.

The Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), an arm of the U.S. Labor Department, has used $3.7 million to hire three firms — Deloitte Financial Advisory Services; Actuarial Research Corp., Columbia, Md.; and RAND Corp., Santa Monica, Calif. – to help it complete PPACA-required reports on wellness programs, large group health plans and self-insured group health plans.

The IRS has hired a number of companies better known as defense contractors, such as Lockheed Martin Corp., Bethesda, Md., and Northrop Grumman Corp., Los Angeles, to help plan, develop and run the systems it needs to implement PPACA programs.

- Allison Bell

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