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Troubled HealthCare.gov to switch U.S. Web hosts after contract change

Margaret Chadbourn and Roberta Rampton
Wednesday, 27 Nov 2013 | 7:11 PM ET

WASHINGTON, Nov 27 (Reuters) - The U.S. government is switching providers of Web hosting services for the troubled HealthCare.gov website, replacing Verizon Communications Inc's Terremark subsidiary with Hewlett-Packard Co, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said on Wednesday.

The contract with Terremark for the site's data center ends in March 2014, and last summer - after CMS issued a "task order," HP was the successful bidder, a CMS spokesman said in a statement.

Now, CMS needs to transition its data center to HP at a time when it is just beginning to dig out from a mountain of problems with the website, which is designed to let consumers shop for health insurance required under President Barack Obama's signature reform law.

"CMS has begun the necessary activities to transition the data center over to HP. We are working to ensure a smooth transition between the two contractors," the CMS spokesman said.

The contract award happened several months before the botched Oct. 1 launch of HealthCare.gov. The contract was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

Verizon has received $55.4 million for its work on the healthcare marketplaces since its contract started in 2011, according to federal contracting records show.

Both companies declined comment, as did the White House, which referred questions about the contract to CMS.

The Obama administration has said it plans to have the website working smoothly for most users by this weekend. The CMS spokesman did not respond to questions about whether the transition between data center providers would affect the website.

(Editing by Christopher Wilson)

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