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HealthCare Checkup

The Seattle Times health-care team tracks the local impact of the Affordable Care Act.

December 17, 2014 at 1:04 PM

Exchange withholds payments to contractor Deloitte over glitches

Washington state’s health insurance exchange is withholding payments to its primary technology contractor, Deloitte, as a result of repeated problems with the Washington Healthplanfinder website and the exchange’s payments and accounts systems.

While the Healthplanfinder website has been more stable during the current open enrollment period than it was in the first open enrollment last year, glitches continue to plague the site and problems with accounts and payments systems have afflicted thousands of consumers.

Officials of the Washington Health Benefits Exchange, which manages the exchange, say many of those problems have been the result of errors made by Deloitte.

In addition to having designed the website, Deloitte is responsible for delivering the software that connects the site to backend databases.

On Dec. 2, the exchange acknowledged that 6,000 consumer accounts had been improperly cancelled when Deloitte ran an automated enrollment cancellation process in error. More recently, on Tuesday, a website outage of several hours was blamed on Deloitte staff making errors while implementing a manual data fix to customer invoices.

“We find these recent errors unacceptable,” exchange CEO Richard Onizuka said in an email. As a result, the exchange has begun withholding payments to Deloitte, he said.

Deloitte has not responded to our requests for comment.

On Nov. 19, the exchange board voted to have an outside contractor perform a thorough review the exchange’s IT architecture and software. As of today, no contractor has been announced for the review.

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