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Maryland exchange answers bidder questions

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Managers of the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange are not eager to ease bidding requirements for customer service center bidders.

The exchange managers make that clear in a batch of answers to questions submitted by potential service center contract bidders.

The exchange opened the bidding process for the contract Feb. 11 and ended the process March 25. The exchange hopes to pick a vendor by April 15, award a contract by April 26. The exchange wants the winning vendor to commit to getting the service center running by July 1.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA) calls for states to have exchanges, or health insurance supermarkets, running by Oct. 1.

Vendors asked a number of questions about whether the exchange managers could ease timeframe requirements, indemnification requirements or similar requirements, such as provision giving the exchange the right to cancel the contract for non-performance and a provision calling for the vendor to accept “unlimited liability” in connection with data breaches.

The exchange “declines to amend the proposed contract provisions,” officials said in their answers.

The exchange will provide some support services, such as marketing materials and access to reporting systems, but the winning bidder will be responsible for connecting with the reporting systems, officials said.

The exchange declined to provide more specific transaction volume data that vendors could use to develop estimates of staffing needs for handling the exchange open-enrollment process. 

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