The tech firm CGI missed another deadline in its contract to build the Vermont Health Connect website, but instead of seeking to impose penalties, the state has agreed to push back the due date, state officials said.
"Our focus is more on getting the work done and making sure it gets done right," said Mark Larson, commissioner of the Department of Vermont Health Access Tuesday.
A May 21 deadline for a component that will allow users to make changes to their coverage was written into a revised contract signed by the state and CGI in early April. Larson said the state agreed to give CGI until June 8 to deliver the change of circumstance function.
If the delay were CGI's fault, the state could impose penalties that grow each day until the function is delivered.
About 10,000 Vermonters need to make a change in their coverage. That is 2,000 more than at the end of April.
Currently, the only way to correct a mistake or update one's coverage to reflect any number of changes -- such as a boost in income, a change in address or add a new dependent -- is to call the Vermont Health Connect call center. Then a state worker must manually make the changes. The information must then be updated by the third-party premium processor, the insurer and the IRS if the change affects someone's premium tax credit.
Vermont negotiated discounts into its most recent contract revision that allow the state to penalize CGI up to $2 million for missed deadlines. The contract is worth $84 million. The state has already assessed $5 million in damages for previous missed deadlines.
The next major deadline in the revised contract is the small business component, which will allow businesses to purchase coverage for their employees online, which is due July 2.
Asked if he was confident about meeting that deadline, Larson said, "We have a lot of work left to do and we continue to monitor that on a daily basis, but it's going to be a significant effort."