Don't hold your breath to start buying health insurance at the federal health exchange in October: it may not be ready in time. The contractor charged with developing security for the Health Insurance Marketplace website has missed its deadline to prove the system is secure, according to a new report from the Office of the Inspector General, per the Tennessean. That's a big problem, because the website will ask people for their Social Security and income details. If there are any more delays, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services "may not have a full assessment of system risks and security controls needed for the security authorization decision by the initial opening period," says the report.
This is not the first deadline that has been missed, notes the Tennessean: the government is two months behind in funding and training the community outreach officers who will teach people how to navigate the exchange, and then there was that one-year mandate delay. But CMS—which has so far paid $394 million to contractors for the exchange—says it has now "prioritized" testing, so the site should be ready in time. "CMS ... is confident the Hub will be operationally secure and it will have authority to operate prior to Oct. 1," the administrator wrote in a letter. (Read more Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services stories.)