(KMOV.com) – A contractor that received $1.2 billion in government money may have overestimated the amount of work it thought its employees would have to perform.
Serco, who runs facilities in Wentzville, Kentucky, Arkansas, and Oklahoma, received $1.2 billion in taxpayer money to process paper applications from those seeking to sign up for insurance under the Affordable Care Act.
In September, 2013, Serco Program Director John Lau told a Congressional committee his company expected to process millions of applications.
“We are prepared to manage the estimated 6.2 million paper applications representing 30 percent of the total applications projected to be received between October 1st and March 31st,” Lau said at the hearing.
Serco opened four processing centers to handle the expected workload. Employees at several of Serco’s centers have told News 4 there is no work to do.
In a statement, Serco told News 4 it has processed one million documents between October and April. However, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) told News 4 one document does not equal one application.
US Senator Roy Blunt criticized CMS for not releasing information about how many applications have been processed by Serco.
“The television station KMOV did a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request to CMS on April 8,” Blunt said on the Senate floor. “They are two weeks past the twenty days the government is supposed to have to comply. I wonder what would happen if you had an EPA penalty and as a taxpayer you are late in complying with whatever that penalty is.”
Senator Blunt said he is asking CMS to provide specific answers by the end of May. Senator Claire McCaskill told News 4 she has asked the Department of Health and Human Services Inspector General to get to bottom of what is going on at Serco.