The Office of Inspector General (OIG) of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) yesterday released results of its review of the 60 “Federal Marketplace contracts” for awarded by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which it said “raised a number of concerns.”

The study questioned “the adequacy of CMS’s planning and procurement efforts” and charged CMS with making “contract decisions that may have limited the number of acceptable proposals.” Thus, the OIG concluded, “CMS selected contract types that placed the risk of cost increases for this work solely on the Government.”

The report noted:

When awarding the Federal Marketplace contracts, CMS did not always meet contracting requirements. For example, CMS did not develop an overarching acquisition strategy for the Federal Marketplace or perform all required oversight activities. Moreover, for a project of this size and importance, CMS missed opportunities to leverage all available acquisition planning tools and contracting approaches to identify and mitigate risks.

The Inspector General made five specific recommendations to HHS and CMS, one of which was to “limit or eliminate regulatory exceptions to acquisition planning requirements.” The OIG press release noted that “HHS and CMS concur with all of our recommendations.”

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