Amazon takes up HealthCare.gov role
- By Adam Mazmanian
- Jun 10, 2014
Note: This story has been updated.
changes are in store for HeathCare.gov when the next open enrollment period
begins in November, according to two articles that offer inside looks into the
coding and infrastructure work on the site.
of the biggest changes is taking place behind the scenes. Amazon Web Services
is being brought in to handle cloud hosting for parts of HealthCare.gov, as a
subcontractor of HP. AWS capacity will be applied to back-end systems for
insurance carrier data, risk assessment data, and parts of the user interface
for the front door of HealthCare.gov.
continues to supply infrastructure for other pieces of the Federally
Facilitated Marketplace alongside Terremark, which held the cloud hosting
contract for HealthCare.gov when it launched. CMS is in the process of
transitioning from Terremark to HP under a contract awarded in June 2013.
Terremark's hosting deal was extended in March to facilitate the transition.
news came in an article in Wired that profiled some of the software brains
behind the reboot of HealthCare.gov and a story in the Wall Street Journal that
pointed to changes expected in what is being billed as Marketplace 2.0 –
improvements to the public-facing applications of the HealthCare.gov system.
the changes is a faster, more stable plan comparison tool, an upgraded identity
management system, a new simplified shopping system dubbed "EZ App"
that could guide individuals and families with relatively uncomplicated
applications through the process with less friction than the original application.
According to Wired, most applicants would be able to enroll via the EZ App.
handful of coders profiled by Wired, dubbed the "Marketplace Light"
team, was charged with improving the performance of some of the parts of
HealthCare.gov that were particularly strained during its October 2013
launch. U.S. CTO Todd Park helped recruit a number of team members during
the initial "tech surge" that fixed the site, and new recruits were
tapped to build new functionality to the site. According to a CMS spokesperson,
the team works under government contracts or subcontracts. Accenture
holds the contract on the federally facilitated marketplace – an effort that
contracting documents suggest requires hundreds of individuals to support. That
one-year contract, awarded after problems with CGI Federal, is scheduled to be
rebid in the coming months.
told the Wall Street Journal that testing on changes to the system would begin
over the summer, and that despite the overhaul, HealthCare.gov was not going
through a "reinvention." Some in industry are concerned that changes
to the identity management system could pose problems for consumers renewing
coverage. A CMS spokesperson told FCW that, "development is ongoing and
elements will only be rolled out once they are tested and approved," and
said that work continues on the back end financial management system and the
small business enrollment tool.
An earlier version of this article incorrectly reported that Amazon was taking
over as cloud host for HealthCare.gov. FCW regrets the error.
Adam Mazmanian is executive editor of FCW.
Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy, health IT and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mr. Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian started his career as an arts reporter and critic, and has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, Architect magazine, and other publications. He was an editorial assistant and staff writer at the now-defunct New York Press and arts editor at the About.com online network in the 1990s, and was a weekly contributor of music and film reviews to the Washington Times from 2007 to 2014.
Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.