Public health insurance exchange technology contractors and exchange plan issuers are still having trouble figuring out what the Obama administration wants.
The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) talked about the effects of unanswered questions on U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) exchange program systems in a report released last week.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), a division of HHS, hired Accenture to revamp HHS public exchange computer systems in January. CMS told Accenture that the firm had to get a financial management module for the HHS-run exchanges working by mid-March. Instead, GAO officials say, Accenture worked from January through April on figuring out what the previous contractor had done — and on clarifying CMS requirements.
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As of June 5, 2014, CMS had changed Accenture’s original Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) exchange systems development contract six times to modify existing requirements and add enhancements, GAO officials say. CMS is now hoping Accenture can implement the financial management module in several phases between now and December 2014.
GAO officials say the financial management module delays have hurt the ability of CMS to:
- Track eligibility and enrollment transactions at the HHS-run exchanges.
- Make subsidy payments to the insurers that sold qualified health plans (QHPs) through HHS-run public exchanges.
- Exchange consumer data with the Internal Revenue Service.
- Run the new PPACA risk-management programs.
CMS has named Andy Slavitt to be the principal deputy administrator at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in charge of overseeing the Center for Consumer Information & Insurance Oversight (CCIIO). CCIIO is the CMS division responsible for day-to-day management of the HHS-run exchanges and the state-based PPACA exchanges.