UnitedHealth acquisition of exchange contractor raises conflict of interest concerns

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UnitedHealth Group's purchase of a company contracted to help develop the national health insurance exchange has led to accusations of conflict of interest. The company bought Quality Software Services, Inc. (QSSI), a Maryland-based contractor helping build a federal data services center for the federal fallback exchange, in September, about one year after QSSI won the $144.6 million deal, reported The Hill's Healthwatch.

The acquisition wasn't reported to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, although UnitedHealth Group contends a report wasn't required. However, unnamed insurance sources expressed concern that "if an insurance company had influence over the information technology architecture used to run the exchange, it could interpret federal standards in a way to exclude competitors or make it more difficult for them to win approval" or could "have an inside track on knowing how to design plans that meet the standards." What's more, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) has asked U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius for a complete list of contractors responsible for establishing the federal exchange as well as the administration officials who approved those awards. --Read the full article on FierceHealthIT