The Web site for the United States Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s health insurance exchange, is still slow but “working” according to the senior vice-president of CGI Federal which is the lead contractor of the problem plagued healthcare insurance marketplace program also known as Obamacare.
The site went live October 1 but many consumers had difficulty entering the system. This prompted the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee to call for an investigation.
Cheryl Campbell, senior vice president of CGI Federal which is a subsidiary of Montreal-based CGI Inc., is one of the people who appeared today before the committee.
Since the site opened, according to a memo from the committee, there have been reports that described the launch of the PPACA’s exchange program as “plagued with problems” and “nothing short of disastrous.”
“The launch of the exchanges has been fraught with significant problems that leading to major delays for Americans attempting to shop for health coverage,” the memo said.
“The system is working. The people are enrolling,” she told the committee today . But she also acknowledged that the system is still too slow.
In a written testimony to the committee before the hearing, Campbell blamed a subcontractor for difficulties suffered by users trying to site.
Among the issues that site users encountered was a faulty “enterprise identity management (EIDM) function provided by another contractor,” according to her written testimony posted in the committee’s
The EIDM came from Optum, a San Francisco, Calif-based healthcare system provider. The EIDM serves as a “front door” that allows users to enter the health insurance marketplace.
“Unfortunately, the EIDM created a bottleneck that prevented a vast majority of users from accessing,” the exchange, said Campbell.
Andy Slavitt, group executive vice-president at Optum, said today blamed the issues on a “late decision” to require users to register for an account before they could browse the insurance products may have been one of the reasons for the high volume of requests to file up.
He said this may have cause a build-up of requests which overwhelmed the system.
I a written testimony before his appearance, Slavitt said the bottleneck “wouldn’t have occurred if consumers could ‘window shop’ anonymously.”
Noting that the administration is currently urging people to use paper application instead, Republican Congressman Joe Barton of Texas said “that is a system that has failed.”
However, Campbell said she thinks the system can be fixed in time for a January 1 hard launch.