News in Brief

HealthCare.gov's fraud failure and a $6 billion DIA deal

screen capture of HealthCare.gov site

GAO: HealthCare.gov not designed to detect fraud

Does the government do a good job of vetting the eligibility of applicants for health insurance subsidies? Maybe not, according to testimony from the Government Accountability Office during a hearing of the Senate Finance Committee last week.

GAO conducted a series of undercover tests that included creating false application information for 12 fictitious applicants for health care subsidies. The applications lacked certain required documentation and presented inconsistencies and information gaps that should have set off alarms, according to the auditors.

Instead, the federal insurance marketplace permitted 11 of the 12 fictitious applicants to enroll in subsidized health care plans via in-person contacts with navigators designed to help enrollees, phone applications and online applications submitted on HealthCare.gov.

The marketplace later re-enrolled the 11 successful applicants for coverage in 2015. Coverage for six of the 11 re-enrollments was cut off because of a lack of documentation but later reinstated, according to GAO.

The auditors' tests were limited in scope and location, and not meant to be "generalized to the overall population of applicants or enrollees," GAO's report states. The probe was designed to uncover problems in verification, but auditors found that contractors responsible for vetting applications were not tasked with or trained for fraud detection.

Under the health care law, the government pays subsidies directly to insurance carriers so that potential fraudsters are not able to use fake enrollments to scam the government out of cash. However, the subsidies have a value, GAO pointed out, and "they still result in a cost to the government and a benefit to enrollees."

DIA gives 50 companies a spot on $6B IT contract

The Defense Intelligence Agency has given 25 large and 25 small companies a spot on the potentially $6 billion Enhanced Solutions for the Information Technology Enterprise contract, a five-year indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity deal designed to streamline DIA's IT acquisition, Defense Systems reports.

E-SITE is a follow-on to the $6.6 billion Solutions for the IT Enterprise contract, which was awarded in 2010 and expired in May.

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