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Updated: Fri, 10 Jan 2014 16:10:47 GMT | By CBC News, cbc.ca

Obamacare site designer CGI of Montreal loses contract



This photo provided by the U.S. federal health department shows the main landing web page for HealthCare.gov, which was primarily built by Canadian firm CGI Group Inc. and has struggled since it launched Oct.1. The Associated Press

This photo provided by the U.S. federal health department shows the main landing web page for HealthCare.gov, which was primarily built by Canadian firm CGI Group Inc. and has struggled since it launched Oct.1. The Associated Press

The administration of U.S. President Barack Obama has decided to drop Montreal-based CGI Group as the main IT contractor for the problem-plagued Obamacare health insurance site.

The Washington Post reports the government will soon sign a 12-month contract with a different company – Dublin-based technology and consulting company Accenture.

The $93-million US contract with the U.S. unit of CGI is to expire in February.

CGI confirmed it will finish out its work on the site, but the contract will not be renewed. As lead in designing the system, its contract could have been renewed for one or two years.

CGI shares took a hit on the news, dropping 2.8 per cent to $34.25 in Toronto trading.

CGI executives testified before a White House committee about problems with the site, where users tried for days without success to sign up for the health insurance plan.

The company has been involved in trying to fix problems with access to the site, but federal officials have determined it has not been effective enough.

"We are working with our contract partners to make a mutually agreed upon transition to ensure that HealthCare.gov continues to operate smoothly for consumers," a spokesman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said in a statement.

Obama has seen his popularity slide over the persistent site glitches.

While the worst problems with the site occurred in the early weeks after the October 2013 launch, the U.S. administration said more than two million American had successfully signed up for health insurance by December.

But there are still problems with registering people in state programs and computing exact amounts to be sent to insurers, as well as tabulating premiums for individual families.

In November, CGI CEO Michael Roach told analysts that clients were not bothered by the company’s connection to the Obamacare debacle.

"This is not a simple website, but rather a very complex integrated technology platform that, for the first time, combines the process of selecting, enrolling in insurance, and determining insurance eligibility for government subsidies all in one place and in real time," he said.

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