United Health subsidiary picked to help fix government health care website

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The federal government named a subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group as the "general contractor" to oversee the website designed to sign up Americans for health insurance.

The Star Tribune reports that a government spokeswoman said Quality Software Services Inc. will oversee the entire operation of Healthcare.gov.

Julie Bataille, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) communications director said, "They have done a good job already. They are familiar with the project and have the skills and expertise to address these problems."

The software company was acquired by UnitedHealth's Optum business in 2012. It designed the website's data services hub, that is one of the functions that has worked well since the website went live on Oct. 1.

Users of the site have complained of long wait times, dropped connections and lost data. A management consultant brought in by President Obama, Jeff Zients, said in first few days of the site's operation very few people were able to create accounts, much less apply for insurance. Now Zients said those numbers have improved to 90 percent of those who try to create an account succeed.

Optum President Andrew Slavitt told lawmakers that its part of the system had error rates close to zero, according to a report in the Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal.

The responsibility of fixing the site's worst problems now goes to QSSI.

Reuters reported that Zients said by the end of November the vast majority of consumers will be able to successfully and smoothly enroll through Healthcare.gov.

People in 36 states will use the federal website to sign up for health insurance coverage, because those states did not create their own exchanges.

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