A top technology official in the development of the Obamacare enrollment website said Tuesday that 30 to 40 percent of the online marketplace remains to be built.
Henry Chao, deputy chief information officer at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, testified at a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing Tuesday, where he claimed responsibility for making sure the technology pieces of the site are in place.
According to Chao, repairs to HealthCare.gov are ongoing, and security testing of the site is being conducted daily and weekly. Yet a significant portion of the overall federal exchange system still needs to be built.
Asked by Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., what portion of the enrollment site had yet to be created when the site launched Oct. 1, Chao said he did not have an exact percentage but that all functions prioritized for the lauch were completed and tested. However, now in the second month of implementation, a significant amount remains undeveloped.
"HealthCare.gov, the online application, verification, determination, plan compare, getting enrolled, generating an enrollment transaction, that's 100 percent there," Chao said.
It's some of the backend functions — the back office systems, the accounting systems, and the systems to make payments to issuers beginning in January — that still need to be built, according to Chao. These parts will be tested in the same way as the rest of the site.
Chao said developing and reviewing new parts of the site does not affect operation of the rest of the website. "It doesn't involve the front part," he explained. "When we're trying to calculate a payment, derive a payment, do data matches on the back end, that doesn't affect the HealthCare.gov operations."
CMS did not immediately respond to requests for comment.