Two states halt payments to embattled contractor

Posted on 27 December, 2013 by sophia


Massachusetts and Vermont officials will withhold payments from the contractor behind the states’ malfunctioning Obamacare exchanges, the Boston Globe reported Thursday.
CGI Group is the main contractor in charge of both Massachusetts’ and Vermont’s state exchanges, as well as the federal site
“CGI has consistently underperformed, which is frustrating and a serious concern,” said Jason Lefferts, a spokesman for the Massachusetts exchange. “We are holding the vendor accountable for its underperformance and will continue to apply nonstop pressure to work to fix defects and improve performance.
Massachusetts officials have paid $11 million of its $69 million contract with CGI but will not dole out any more dough until the website is functioning properly, according to Lefferts.
Vermont has already paid $18.6 million of its $82.6 million bill to CGI, but is still in talks to decide what the bottom line will be. Exchange officials are currently withholding a $5.1 million payment in return for CGI missing important deadlines and are disputing over $1 million in charges due to “incomplete work.”
Massachusetts officials already worked with a similar health care system to Obamacare, but were stymied when trying to comply with Obamacare’s updates. The new exchange website has been unable to determine eligibility for different insurance plans and struggled to set up accounts and passwords.
For Vermonters it was even worse: customers were not able to purchase coverage online until early December, a paltry record only beat by the country’s worst Obamacare marketplace.
But while Vermont and Massachusetts are blasting now-infamous CGI, they’re not the first state to withhold payments. Oregon’s utterly failed exchange has withheld $20 million from contractor Oracle and already has attorneys reviewing the bungled launch