Healthcare.gov costs exceed $2 billion

The cost of the healthcare.gov portal have far exceeded estimates.

According to Bloomberg's analysis of the contracts related to projects, government spending on the healthcare.gov portal and related programs has now exceeded $2 billion. This is over double the Obama Administration's most recent estimate of $834 million, although that figure was limited to spending on computer systems by the agency that runs the site. 

The source notes that the construction of the portal has so far involved 60 organizations, under the supervision of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Emails released by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee last month detailed that progress has been slowed by conflict amongst the many contractors, as well as among officials from the CMS and Health and Human Services Department (HHS).

However, Aaron Albright, a spokesman for CMS, disputed Bloomberg's findings, because of its inclusion of spending outside of computer elements.

"CMS takes its responsibility for spending taxpayer dollars seriously," Albright told Bloomberg. "That's why we've moved aggressively to implement extensive contracting reforms, bringing in new leadership to oversee marketplace operations, hiring a systems integrator, and ending our largest contract with CGI and moving to a new type of contract with Accenture that rewards performance."

Spending on the government portal has been a major source of bipartisan conflict, although it has helped about 7.3 million people enroll in coverage as of August 15. 

While flaws in America's health care system certainly needs to be addressed, it is important to find the most cost-effective solutions to avoid driving up the cost of care. Already, the rise in high-deductible plans have caused mounting issues of bad debt at many care facilities. 

If this is the case at your organization, the decision to outsource receivables management can lead to a drastic reduction in the number of dollars written off to bad debt as well as an improved patient/provider relationship.