WT Business Beat

By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

Accenture down but not out in battle for Healthcare.gov

Accenture’s quest to retain one of its more high profile contracts -- supporting Healthcare.gov -- has taken another hit, but the company hasn’t been eliminated from the competition yet.

Accenture has supported the federal health insurance exchange since 2013, when it came in to rescue the web portal.

But the recompete for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services contract has presented trouble for Accenture.

CMS awarded the follow-on contract to Deloitte in late 2019. Accenture’s protest led CMS to take a corrective action that revised the evaluation process.

That still resulted in an award to Deloitte, which Accenture again protested in June 2020.

CMS took another corrective action and this time said they would revise the solicitation. But Accenture objected to this as well, saying the amended solicitation was problematic.

This time, CMS stood its ground and argued that Accenture wanted changes that would favor them over competitors. The Government Accountability Office agreed and rejected Accenture’s protest.

Accenture complained that CMS was considering Deloitte’s experience with state health insurance exchanges on par with Accenture’s experience with the federal exchange, which is larger and hence has more users and transactions.

GAO dismissed Accenture's protest because the terms of the solicitation didn’t put the company at disadvantage. Accenture was still qualified to bid.

GAO ruled that Accenture wanted to make the terms of the solicitation more restrictive.

But the ruling also notes that Accenture’s complaints about the impact of the solicitation on the competition are speculative because CMS hasn’t picked a winner yet. They don’t know how CMS is going to weigh the proposals.

“Its protest is premature,” GAO wrote.

In other words -- if CMS picks Deloitte again, I think we’ll see another Accenture protest.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Feb 05, 2021 at 12:42 PM

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