On Thursday, state officials announced that the California Health Benefit Exchange will award a $359 million contract to Accenture to build an online eligibility and enrollment system for the health insurance exchange, the Sacramento Business Journal reports (Robertson, Sacramento Business Journal, 5/31).
The federal health reform law requires that all states launch online insurance marketplaces by 2014 (iHealthBeat, 5/30). The exchanges primarily will serve individuals and small businesses. An estimated 4.4 million California residents are expected to have used the exchange by the end of 2016 (Sacramento Business Journal, 5/31).
The contract includes about $183 million for developing the system and another $176 million for continued development and operating costs over about three and a half years. The federal government will provide the majority of the funding (Glover, Sacramento Bee, 6/1).
The contract is subject to federal approval.
Exchange officials said they would begin enrollment on Oct. 1, 2013, for coverage that would take effect in January 2014 (Terhune, Los Angeles Times, 6/1).
Potential Effect of SCOTUS Ruling on Contract
The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule on the constitutionality of the health reform law in the coming weeks (iHealthBeat, 3/26).
Peter Lee, executive director of the exchange, said the contract would be void if the court strikes down the entire law and federal funding can no longer go toward the exchange. He said, "There is zero potential that the general fund in California will be on the hook for this" (Weintraub, HealthyCal, 5/31).