Obamacare Contractor Faces Renewed Conflict-of-Interest Allegations
As Obamacare enrollment period begins, lawmaker questions HHS official’s denial
At issue is a major contract awarded over the summer to Quality Software Services Inc. (QSSI). The Department of Health and Human Services brought on QSSI to mitigate a disastrous rollout of Healthcare.gov, the website for online enrollment in Obamacare’s federally run exchanges.
QSSI is owned by OptumInsight, a subsidiary of healthcare conglomerate UnitedHealth Group, which also owns an insurance company, UnitedHealthcare, that will offer more than 7,000 insurance plans through Healthcare.gov in 15 federally run exchanges next year.
That presents a potential conflict of interest, according to Sens. Orrin Hatch (R., Utah) and Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa).
“Optum/QSSI will have access to a significant amount of data regarding highly sensitive aspects of FFE operations, including payment calculation for reinsurance, risk adjustment and risk corridors, and the required data collection to support these services,” the senators said in a letter to Marilyn Tavenner, the head of HHS’ Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which administers Healthcare.gov.
Three days before the enrollment period began, UnitedHealth Group chief executive Stephen Hemsley announced a host of changes among the company’s top executive leadership. Two senior Optum executives are now party to and in positions to influence the operations of UnitedHealthcare.
It’s not even a shock to see another huge conflict, or compromise of people’s data.