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Feds Won’t Renew Health Website’s Lead Contractor

The government's much-maligned health insurance website is getting a new outside contractor to steer the revamped portal through the remainder of open enrollment season.

The Obama administration and lead website contractor CGI Federal said Friday they had mutually agreed to part ways on HealthCare.gov. The site's launch Oct. 1 embarrassed President Barack Obama and prompted a frantic reconstruction campaign. It largely works well now.

Government officials had little to say.

CGI's current contract will not be renewed after February, a person familiar with the situation said Friday. The person requested anonymity because of federal rules regarding the privacy of contractors.

Instead, the administration intends to hire Accenture, a major technology consulting company, to run the federal website serving 36 states.

The White House had hoped the website would make buying health insurance under the new law as easy as online shopping. Instead, HealthCare.gov choked up the day it was launched. Although hundreds of thousands of people tried to sign up, only a handful actually succeeded.

White House troubleshooter Jeffrey Zients managed to turn things around by the end of November. Since then, more than 1 million people have signed up for coverage, and when state-run websites are counted, enrollments total more than 2 million.

CGI and other contractors have told Congress that they didn't get enough time to properly test the system ahead of the administration's Oct. 1 deadline for launching it.

Open enrollment season for the health care law's government subsidized private insurance ends March 31.

- The Associated Press