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HI lawmakers critical of developer that created health-care, tax websites

Senate President Donna Mercado Kim speaks to reporters

HONOLULU — Hawaii state senators are criticizing CGI Group Inc., the company that developed Hawaii’s troubled Obamacare portal, for the construction and management of a tax-collection website.

The state Department of Taxation paid CGI Group more than $87 million over 12 years to modernize the state’s tax-collection system, but, Senate President Donna Mercado Kim said,the system often crashes and is plagued with other problems.

CGI Group maintains its work in Hawaii has produced positive results for the state, collecting $385 million in delinquent taxes and cutting refund times.

But in a recent legislative briefing, senators on the Ways & Means Committee were critical of the department’s plan to spend at least $32 million more to upgrade the tax department system, saying that number could reach $50 million.

In an exclusive interview with Hawaii Reporter, Kim, a Democrat running for Congress, in January heard the Hawaii Health Connector planned to contract with CGI Group in January for $53 million to build and maintain the Obamacare exchange website. She quickly warned Hawaii Health Connector executives about past problems with the Canadian-based technology company.

Coral Andrews, executive director of the Hawaii Health Connector, defended the choice and said CGI was selected through a competitive procurement process that complied with federal guidelines and oversight, as well as board oversight.

The website didn’t work for more than two weeks after it launched Oct. 1, because plans and pricing could not be displayed, and the system crashed and froze when users tried to register.

Coral Andrews, Hawaii Health Connector Executive Director

Since the site relaunched Oct. 15 there have been complaints, including its cumbersome technology, frequent crashes after the extensive forms are filled out and submitted and confusion over plan pricing.

The Hawaii Health Connector released figures Thursday that showed just 94 small businesses signed up  for health-care plans through the Obamacare exchange.

The Hawaii Health Connector did not disclose the number of people who obtained coverage through its services, althought a few thousand have created accounts and started the application process, according to a spokesperson.

Those familiar with the exchange’s system glitches said the enrollment figures are not accurate, in part because the information entered into the system does not always transfer correctly to the health insurance providers — it’s scrambled — so the insurance companies cannot process it; applications can be submitted several times because of technical glitches; and those just checking out the exchange with no plans to sign up can falsely inflate user figures.

Reg Baker, a certified public accountant  and executive vice president for Hawaii Medical Assurance Association, said it may take time for the public to get comfortable with the exchanges.

“Confidence in the exchanges has taken a hit,” said Baker, whose company is not providing plans through the Obamacare exchange. “Let’s hope that the exchanges will be able to turn this around and, if so, sign ups on the exchanges should improve. “

Short URL: http://www.hawaiireporter.com/?p=465019

4 Comments for “HI lawmakers critical of developer that created health-care, tax websites”

  1. I created an account to attempt to get a quote for my small medical practice and then was unable to figure out what to do. No instructions were given as to what to do next. Not a user friendly website. I just gave up.

  2. KHON2 reports more than 3 vendors involved just to fix this."Your Revealed: What stalled Hawaii's health exchange & why some uninsured are still stuck" By Gina Mangieri
    "The state developed its Medicaid-related system separately from the Connector, which built its out with different vendors under a private-entity structure allowed by the legislature (rather than as part of the federal exchange, or as a state-project). In the spring of 2013, an agreement was entered into for the state to help coordinate work between DHS and the Connector in order to try to make the Oct. 1 deadline. Yet another vendor was hired - this time by the Connector but overseen by the state - to serve in the project management role."
    More at; http://www.khon2.com/news/revealed-what-stalled-h...
    When the legislative session begins, call the Senate/ House committees.

  3. I worked on starting an account 10 days ago. The site software is NOT ready for the general public. I did screen grabs and annotated problems and sent them to the web address. They told me to come back in about 5 days and it should be upgraded. I haven't been back.

    I went to another state we have a residence in, I was able to use their software and get healthcare quotes. These quotes were quite high. That state also has a very good state income tax software. The Hawaii State income tax software is really useless and provides just fill out forms.

  4. [...] website. The state Department of Taxation paid CGI Group more than … Read more on Hawaii Reporter  Posted by Robot at 9:17 am  Tagged with: Business, Group, Hawaii, health, latest, [...]

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