News in Brief

HealthCare.gov changes and GCN honorees

HealthCare.gov Screenshot, September 2014

HealthCare.gov gets a face lift

The HealthCare.gov interface is changing in advance of the coming open enrollment period, according to a report in the New York Times.

The new look and feel will be most noticeable to first-time users, who can sign up through a "streamlined application," according to Andrew Slavitt, who leads marketplace operations as the second ranking official at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The new interface is comparable to an IRS short form, with fewer questions and options for applicants. According to officials, about 70 percent of new applicants will qualify for the streamlined interface, while the remainder will be funneled into the existing application. The new version also allows users to backtrack and correct or change information, rather than start from the beginning. CMS is beta testing the new application, and officials say it will be ready for all users who qualify by Nov. 15.

Separately, the Office of the Inspector General at the Department of Health and Human Services released the findings of simulated hacker attacks against HealthCare.gov conducted during April and May of this year. In addition to the Federally Facilitated Marketplace, the IG also tested the Kentucky and New Mexico exchanges for vulnerabilities. The simulated attack on HealthCare.gov revealed a vulnerability characterized as "critical," meaning it could have allowed an intruder to steal or modify information on the network, or execute commands on the server.

According to the report, CMS knew about the flaw in advance of the IG probe, and had a plan in place to fix it by June 30. The Kentucky exchange received a clean bill of health, but the test identified several flaws in the New Mexico site that the state said it was in the process of remediating.

GCN taps executives of the year

CIA Chief Information Officer Doug Wolf and Tony Cole, vice president and global government CTO of FireEye, have been named the IT executives of the year by GCN, an FCW sister publication.

Wolf was named Government CIO of the Year; Cole was named Industry Executive of the Year. Both will be honored at the 27th Annual GCN Awards Gala on Oct. 14 at the Ritz Carlton in Tyson’s Corner.

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