US moving contract for health care website from Verizon to HP, switch made before problems

WASHINGTON – The Department of Health and Human Services is switching contractors for the government’s troubled health care website, a decision it says came months before the online marketplace opened and multiple problems were identified.

A department official said Wednesday its contract with Verizon subsidiary Terremark ends in March. A new contract was awarded to Hewlett-Packard Co. in July.

Terremark was responsible for what’s known as the federal data services hub, a conduit for verifying personal information from people applying for benefits under the new health care law. The hub has experienced outages blamed on Terremark.

The department official was not authorized to discuss ongoing operations by name and spoke on condition of anonymity.

An HP spokesman, Michael Thacker, declined to comment on the change.

A Verizon spokesman did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment.

The Wall Street Journal first reported on the change in contractors.