Cover Oregon's transition to federal exchange rated 'high risk' for failure

Cover Oregon's transition to federal exchange rated 'high risk' for failure

PORTLAND, Ore. - Cover Oregon can’t even quit right, it seems.

A report by independent quality-assessment contractor Maximus found that Cover Oregon’s attempt to transition to the federal exchange is at a high risk of failure, and for many of the same reasons that forced the transition in the first place. 
 
The reporting period runs through the end of April, and Maximus found that even then Cover Oregon needed to quickly hire a “systems integrator” (SI) to manage the transfer to the federal exchange.
 
“2015 enrollment begins in 6.5 months,” the assessment reads. “CO will need to finalize their transition plan by the end of April/early May to ensure the SI vendor has time to execute on the contract effectively.
 
“Lack of a SI vendor moving into May will further compress a short transition timeline. Securing a contract with the ‘go-forward’ SI vendor is paramount.”
 
Cover Oregon still has not hired a systems integrator, however, nearly two months after that warning. It first posted official notice that it was looking for one on May 26. 
 
Documents obtained by the On Your Side Investigators show a decision is due Monday.
 
A technology company called Deloitte Consulting, which made the recommendation in April to abandon the state exchange because it would be cheaper, is among the companies contending for the systems integrator company. Nine other companies are also in the running for the contract, which Cover Oregon estimates will be for $30-$35 million.
 
Maximus also reported that Cover Oregon was badly lagging on long-term planning – a complaint it made for years during the project’s failed launch, and one that was likely a root cause for the website’s failure.
 
“Lack of a detailed schedule planning for transitioning to the federal technology and managing the maintenance of the existing system moving forward could result in significant adjusts for the Oregon HIX Corporation (ORHIX) Cover Oregon (CO),” the report reads.
 
Overall, Maximus judged that five of the 16 categories it assessed were a “high” risk, and another nine were “medium” risk.
 
Maximus assessed the Cover Oregon website site as being at a high risk for failure for the entirety of the project.
 
Maximus emphasized that delay in hiring a systems integrator could jeopardize enrollments for next year. A recent estimate found that 80,000 people who enrolled through Cover Oregon this year will have to re-enroll through the federal exchange next year.
 
“The SI contract will need to be put in place by the end of April/early May to ensure there is ample time to execute for the 2015 enrollment,” the report reads. 
 
For its part, Cover Oregon agreed with Maximus’ assessment that the overall health of the transition is at high risk.
 
“The project risk remains high,” it wrote in its allotted rebuttal space.