Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Glitches, bugs in healthcare.gov beg questions

Who built this thing?

There were 55 contractors, including CGI Federal, a unit of a Montreal-based company that has the biggest contract. QSSI, a Columbia, Md.-based venture, worked on the "data hub" that passes information back and forth between HealthCare.gov and other systems managed by the Social Security Administration, the Department of Homeland Security and other agencies. The oversight and system integration was done in-house by technical staffers at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

What is being done to fix the problems?

Officials are saying they have brought in an unspecified number of extra computer experts from various parts of the government and from private companies to work on the case.

How much is this going to cost? Who'll pay for it?

Health and Human Services officials have declined to say whether the government will pay for the fixes and upgrades or whether they have asked the contractors to absorb some or all of the costs. These bugs get more expensive to fix over time. The rule of thumb in the industry is that if something can be fixed for $1 before a project's launch, it will cost 100 times that afterward.

Should I continue to try to register online?

Officials have said people won't be penalized if they sign up for insurance by Feb. 15. After that, they will pay a fine for the months in which they remain uninsured. The 2014 open-enrollment period ends March 31, the last day consumers can buy coverage through the health insurance marketplaces. You can also sign up by calling a call center, and there's a paper version of the application that you can mail in.

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