Official: Expect Glitches In November

Rebecca Carroll | | July 31, 2014

There will be hiccups, but the federal online marketplace for health insurance plans is in a far better position to handle the open enrollment period that begins Nov. 15, a top official said Thursday.  “We’re in a vastly different situation,” Andy Slavitt, principal deputy administrator at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, told lawmakers. “There will certainly be bumps. But we’re expecting to have a good open enrollment.”

CMS, the agency charged with developing the information technology systems behind the federal marketplace and its public-facing website,, lacked effective planning and contract oversight, which led to the disastrous launch last year, according to the Government Accountability Office. In its first two months, the site simply failed for the vast majority of visitors, who experienced errors and slow response times.

GAO made several common-sense management recommendations after closely examining two major task orders and a contract. The task orders were those issued to CGI Federal to develop the marketplace and to QSSI to create the data hub, which verifies and routes user information to other agencies, such as the Social Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security. GAO also investigated the contract awarded to Accenture Federal Services, the company that replaced CGI in January 2014...