Sunday, February 09, 2014
Washington Post: Court papers escalate fight between key contractors on Md. health insurance exchange
Court papers escalate fight between key contractors on Md. health insurance exchange
By Jenna Johnson and Mary Pat Flaherty, Published: February 7, 2014
One of the two companies that built Maryland’s troubled online health insurance exchange charged in court papers Friday that the lead contractor “concealed its lack of relevant expertise” when it bid on the contract.
Escalating a bitter feud, EngagePoint alleged that Noridian Healthcare Solutions had no experience in developing the type of software the exchange would need. EngagePoint also said Noridian “lacked the expertise, resources and commitment actually required” to develop and operate the Web site through which Marylanders were supposed to sign up for insurance under the federal Affordable Care Act.
Noridian fired EngagePoint in October, and the two companies — which are suing each other in federal court in Baltimore — are fighting over employees, money and work that remains to be completed.
Maryland Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown (D), who was tasked with implementing health-care reform in Maryland, said top state officials became aware of potential problems in September but did not realize their gravity. Maryland’s exchange crashed Oct. 1, its first day, and has been plagued with problems that have made it difficult for Marylanders to sign up for health insurance.
The exchange is largely functioning through work-arounds, state health officials have said. Rather than signing up for insurance through the Web site, many Marylanders have contacted call centers and spent hours on the phone. Some applications are being processed on paper.
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