ACA cloud site costs three times initial estimate

The cost of running a data site related to the Obama administration's Affordable Care Act has tripled to more than $35 million since 2011, according to an article from Nextgov, citing documents from the Federal Business Opportunities government website.

This ACA site--a cloud that stores cost, coverage and performance data for insurance plans--powers Healthcare.gov's Plan Finder application, made for small businesses and consumers to compare health plans in their areas. It will also be used by state health insurance exchanges.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' Center for Consumer Information and Exchange runs the site, and awarded a $10.8 million contract to Verizon to design the site, Nextgov pointed out. Seven modifications later, the three-year base contract has grown to $35.5 million. The FBO documents posted Wednesday stated that CMS needs to purchase another $110,000 in products from Terremark, Verizon's cloud computing division, in order to make the site run correctly.

"This effort has experienced a significant degree of change after award," CMS said in its notice. "At the time of the contract award, the scope of cloud computing needs to support the implementation of insurance exchanges was unknown."

Progress is finally being made in other places for the ACA's technology tools: the long-awaited, controversial data hub that stands as the most important piece of technology in the Obama Administration's Affordable Care Act is finally ready as of last Friday, according to federal health officials. The hub will be used to help determine who will qualify for government subsidies when purchasing individual health insurance plans.

This news came just over a month after a report published by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office of Inspector General stated that security testing for the data hub was behind schedule.  

To learn more:
- read the Nextgov article
- read the FBO notice

Related Articles:
Testing complete for controversial ACA data hub
Insurance exchange design could save individuals, government $9 billion
Legislation pushes for data hub delay
OIG: Data hub security testing behind schedule
GOP to Sebelius: ACA data hub raises privacy concerns
Lawmaker: ACA-mandated data hub a privacy nightmare

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