White House awards Accenture HealthCare.gov contract
January 11th, 2014
07:59 PM ET
9 years ago

White House awards Accenture HealthCare.gov contract

Washington (CNN) - The Obama administration has tapped the world's largest consulting firm to take over its beleaguered Obamacare website.

Accenture, a consulting and technology services company with 281,000 employees and $28.6 billion in revenue, won the one-year contract to continue fixing HealthCare.gov, the online health insurance marketplace set up by the Affordable Care Act. The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services made the announcement Saturday.

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"As CMS moves forward in our efforts to help consumers access quality, affordable health coverage, we have selected Accenture to become the lead contractor for the HealthCare.gov portal and to prepare for next year’s open enrollment period. We are pleased that more than 1.1 million consumers already have enrolled in a private plan in the federal Marketplace thanks to existing efforts and look forward to working with all of our contract partners to ensure a smooth transition of this work," the agency said in a statement.

As lead contractor, the company will be in charge of not only improving the current site, but also preparing it for open enrollment next fall. The task includes 24/7 customer support, eligibility and enrollment functions, and transmitting the personal data in enrollment forms.

“We are honored to be part of the team of technology and healthcare companies and government professionals helping the federal government meet the healthcare coverage needs of its citizens,” said David Moskovitz, the chief executive of Accenture's federal services. “Accenture will bring deep healthcare industry insight as well as proven experience building large-scale, public-facing websites to continue improving HealthCare.gov."

CMS will pay Accenture $45 million for the initial phase of the contract. The two sides are still defining the extent of Accenture's work, and a final value for the contract will be decided then.

Obamacare's site launched on October 1, 2013, to disastrous reviews, as users experienced major problems accessing the site, creating profiles and selecting insurance plans.

The White House later fired the original contractor, CGI Federal, and it cut ties with the company Friday, choosing not to renew its contract.

CGI's original contract for HealthCare.gov was for two years and valued at nearly $100 million.

During testimony before Congress in October, CGI Senior Vice President Cheryl Campbell denied any wrongdoing by her company, telling legislators that it was not "unusual to discover problems" in a system with so many concurrent users that would need to be addressed after going live.

Fixes since have resulted in improved performance of HealthCare.gov. At the end of 2013, more than 2 million people had signed up for coverage, with about half enrolling through the federal marketplace, officials said.

–CNN's Brianna Keilar contributed to this report.

Filed under: Obamacare • White House
soundoff (158 Responses)
  1. A

    CGI = Can't Get Insurance. Best of luck to Accenture trying to make sense of CGI's shoddy code.

    January 12, 2014 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  2. jimbraysga

    As an independent consultant I have worked two projects for SAP who had to go in and clean up Accenture's mess and there are many more examples that I was not involved with. It is unfortunate that no one in government is serious about getting this done right. Hire Google or Amazon and forget those 2nd rate companies who are simply not up to the task. It amazes me how the administration would put their signature achievement at risk. Obviously, they don't comprehend what they are up against.

    January 12, 2014 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  3. lynda

    Accenture's model is onshore or offshore: in India or Indians on various visas who come to USA.
    How is better that CGI ?
    Taxpayers money are going to India while American programmers cannot find a job . What a shame!

    January 12, 2014 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  4. Malory Archer

    Tired of Nonsense

    ....And let's also see the CGI contract; they should be sued to recover costs! Firing them is NOT enough.


    Unfortunately, that's the nature of government contracts, and the reason they were a bad idea since the first government contract was awarded to a private enterprise. It's surprising the WH was able to fire CGI, as usually the only recourse is to not hire them in the future. It would take an act of congress to fix this issue and to tackle the issue of "no bid" contracts, so it'll never happen.

    January 12, 2014 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  5. kris

    @MickMartin – Only issue I have with Obama Care is that it unfairly raises rates on plans for those who've been paying for it so it can be more affordable via subsidies for those who can't afford. Sorry to sound cold blooded but not all in the Middle class are raking in huge bank. An additional few thousand dollars a year can cripple some families. So while some families can get these subsidies because they fall under a certain yearly wage, some other poor soul cannot receive them because they make $5K more. You are now bringing that person down on the same financial level as the other. Its the same for any Social programs you might be in need of but if you make to much according to the Govt. then you're out of luck. But all this is moot because its the law of the land now and if people lose their policies because their insurance company says because of Obama Care that policy isn't affordable then you're forced to go into the pool with the rest and most likely pay more for your premiums. And you wonder why there are millions against this? Especially when there are reports from many sources that many Govt. offices/officials are exempt and get to keep their Cadillac plans.

    January 12, 2014 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  6. Bubba Punk

    Clueless baby boomers trying to manage a technology implementation again. What a joke!

    January 12, 2014 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  7. Malory Archer

    Another HUGE problem with contractors is they can claim proprietary privilege to prevent a full investigation into the workings of their programs when things go wrong.

    January 12, 2014 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  8. Rahul

    At least CGI delivered something …..No matter how bad….. but where is the outrage for contracts given to other companies …..Again worth millions of Dollars…. That have delivered nothing. I work on one such contract worth upwards of 70 million dollars …. that is pretty much delivering spread sheets for 15 reports ….that can be done by an undergraduate student from his dorm….

    January 12, 2014 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  9. HopeAndChange

    Good job Obama for creating jobs for middle class (in India).

    January 12, 2014 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  10. Frustrated with Obamacare

    As a former Accenture employee, I wish Accenture hadn't taken this. The blame game will continue and isn't going to get any better. Accenture also has a ton of overhead in their projects and all I see is millions more of tax payer money flowing down the drain.

    January 12, 2014 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  11. Remember the Alamo

    1961 – "I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth."

    2013 – "Nobody's madder than me about the website not working as well as it should, which means it's going to get fixed,"

    January 12, 2014 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  12. NameFrank Deery

    More taxpayer money to fix a costly problem
    that should have been apparent to those in charge from the beginning. If this sort of expensive fiasco had happened in private industry, heads would have rolled. None have under Obama, whose liberal tax and spend "Progressive" policies are destroying our already weak economy.

    Republicans warned The Nation this would happen. We even tried to stop it with a shut- down, but this HC mess continues to grow along with our national debt under Obama and his Party.
    2 million signed up? Hmmm? How about the
    6 plus now uninsured or getting loans for rising HC bills? Voters!

    January 12, 2014 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  13. RTNavy

    I can't understand why the United States wouldn't have gone to the BEST Technology Companies for their National Web Site plans? Certainly Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, Google, Facebook all have plenty of experience and resources to make systems like this work!

    But no, the White House makes the "process" a Political one instead of a Technical function with actual Technicians and Engineers running things.

    January 12, 2014 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  14. Obamacare is bad

    Response to kris – Absolutely true, I have to pay $400 more a month for the same or as a matter of fact slightly worse coverage than I currently have because Obamacare drove the prices up with mandatory coverage and provisions. While it is great for people that couldn't be insured earlier, I stand to lose because I supposedly "make too much money". No, I don't. I certainly make more than most average folks but I pay a lot of taxes too and now I get hit with this additional $5K a year... three years ago I was paying $6K a year for insurance and beginning next year it will be $15K. Add to it the deductibles, co-pays and out of pocket have gone up too. It is just getting way too much...

    January 12, 2014 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  15. jeezlouise

    obama is a pig

    January 12, 2014 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  16. Worked for Accenture

    I was with Accenture a short time after my employer chose to go outsourcing. Accenture is Indian owned and they bring in Indian coders for 6 months and also have coding done in India. Retain just key US employees. After 4 years my company terminated outsourcing and went with US personnel. Another disaster ahead for Obama care.

    January 12, 2014 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  17. tony

    The clueless baby boomers are the ones who gave you all the developed technology of the Intenet and Microcomputers and cellularwirless, so Gen Y can play valueless social networks instead of working on real world issues.

    January 12, 2014 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  18. Jim

    Some folks in DC must have increased their net worth by millions for inking this contract. In over 43 years in IT, I've seldom seen an organization as lacking in competence as Accenture and as likely to leave their clients broke with nothing to show for it.

    January 12, 2014 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  19. tolduso

    well looks like republicans were proven right, no one wants it no one needs it and its a huge embarrassment to an already non reliable whitehouse

    January 12, 2014 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  20. Steve

    This just in: Obama buys stock in Accenture....

    January 12, 2014 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  21. John Illinois

    What a sick joke!!!! That website will now cost taxpayers over 1 Billion dollars!!! Obama, his fellow liberals and Obamacare are pathetic and must go!

    January 12, 2014 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  22. jkljkl

    CMS will pay Accenture $45 million for the initial phase of the contract. The two sides are still defining the extent of Accenture's work, and a final value for the contract will be decided then.
    Mark these words, this contract will baloon upto half a billion (500 million) or more within next 5 years.

    January 12, 2014 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  23. Dmitry

    There has been some debate among us, I.T. people who is actually worth Accenture or CGI. You see, us, American I.T. professionals, we don't really work with either Accenture or CGI. Here in US, you would just have to be desperate to consider them as an employer.

    These companies hire, more junior resources in the US and H1B visa holders from offshore. In both cases who is not going to work on Helathcare.gov projects is the Top US I.T. Talent. Even mid-level people will stay away from theses companies if they can.

    As far as allowing foreigners (The Indian H1B) to have access my HIPA information (Legally protected Medical information), MR President. You are responsible for that.

    January 12, 2014 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  24. GumDrop

    Accenture's Indian programmers are worse than CGI's Indian programmers (and they're BAD). If you thought shoddy work and cost overruns were a problem with CGI just wait until Accenture gets in there.

    January 12, 2014 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  25. RTUSAF

    Acccenture is no better. A few years ago we (DOD) contracted Accenture to do some research and implement a program to help us find a product (and improve our process) for tracking trouble tickets and customer service. I entertained a few Accenture consultants in the office to discuss the issue and eventually found my comments, issues/challenges I thought needed to be addressed–regurgitated into one of their presentations and presented to our leaders–all for a few million dollars of our taxpayer dollars. This guys did nothing–and I mean nothing–and got paid. That's why government contracts are a sweet deal for many of these companies. Zero accountability. Made me sick.

    January 12, 2014 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
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