A Third of Obamacare's Federal Exchange Contracts Are Already Over Budget



Earlier this summer, the Government Accountability Office reported that, all told, HealthCare.gov—Obamacare's federally run insurance exchange system—has cost about $840 million, with more expenses on the way as an army of tech contractors and the federal government continue to work slowly toward completion. 

Now, thanks to the Office of the Inspector General (IG) at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), we have some more detail on the costs and contracts associated with building the key technological infrastructure for the law. 

According to the report, which was released today,the total value of the 60 contracts associated with the build out of HealthCare.gov is about $1.7 billion, with contract values ranging from as little as $69,000 all the way up to about $200 million.

Those values could end up higher. In a footnote, the report explains that these are expected values, and that they could be more if "modifications" are made to the scope of work in the contracts. 

Given the state of the federal government's exchange, and the delays and cost overruns it has seen so far, it seems likely that the actual costs will end up being higher. Of the 60 contracts, 20 had already gone over budget by February of this year, according to the IG report. Seven of those 20 were over budget by at least 100 percent.

The back end of the exchange, which handles critical financial transactions between the government and the insurance industry, was supposed to be complete last year, then delayed until January of this year, then delayed further, and now isn't expected to be complete until sometime in 2015.