The lead contractor for Maryland’s troubled health exchange website – which has been paid nearly $70 million – was fired Monday.
State officials made the announcement as a legislative panel convened to hear an update on efforts to fix the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange, reports WBAL TV.
The nine-member Maryland Health Benefit Exchange board voted Sunday night to replace Noridian Healthcare Solutions as the operator of the troubled website, which is the state’s Obamacare gateway, reports The Baltimore Sun. The North Dakota-based company had contracts valued at $193 million to build and operate the site for five years.
The online portal, known as Maryland Health Connection, crashed the day it launched, and widespread problems and glitches persist to this day.
Replacing Noridian Healthcare Solutions is Optum/QSSI, a subsidiary of United Health Group, which also sells insurance on the exchange. Columbia-based Optum/QSSI was also hired by the federal government in October to fix its malfunctioning healthcare.gov website, the Sun says.
Optum has ties to Gov. Martin O'Malley: Its liason to state government is Steve Larson, who is O'Malley's former public service commissioner, reports WBAL.
The exchange’s chairman said it “is preserving all rights to seek damages against Noridian and its subcontractors for problems with the IT system.”
Noridian has been paid $67.9 million for the development of the website, reports the Baltimore Business Journal. Most of the money has come from federal grants, along with some state funding. In addition, Noridian has sent the state invoices for another $12.9 million, which has not been paid out.