Whistleblower: Obamacare Processing Center Workers Paid To Do Nothing
ST. LOUIS (CBS St. Louis) – Employees at an Obamacare processing center in Missouri have very little work and are often paid to do nothing, a whistleblower tells KMOV-TV.
“The main thing is that the Data Entry side does not have hardly any work to do. They’re told to sit at their computers and hit the refresh button every ten minutes- no more than every ten minutes. They’re monitored to hopefully look for an application. Their goals are set to process two applications per month and some people are not even able to do that,” the employee told the station, which withheld the employee’s identity.
Serco, an a British-based staffing company, was awarded a 12-year federal government contract worth more than $1.2 billion to process Obamacare paper applications.
The employees, based in Wentzville, are supposed to take those applications for the Affordable Care Act and enter the data into the computer system to complete the signup.
Paper applications declined after healthcare.gov worked out its infamous bugs.
Now the whistleblower says weeks can pass without someone receiving even a single application to process, so workers often spend the day idly staring at their computers.
“They’re told to sit at their computers and hit the refresh button every 10 minutes, no more than every 10 minutes,” the employee said. “They’re monitored, to hopefully look for an application.”
The whistleblowing employee accuses Serco of trying to keep the lack of work a secret and even continuing to hire applicants because the company gets paid for every person it hires. Data entry personnel, says the employee, are given a goal to process only two applications a month and many can’t even do that.
The employee also told KMOV the situation is the same for hundreds of idle workers at two other Serco facilities in Kentucky and Oklahoma.
The government agency that oversees the federal health care exchanges told KMOV that “Serco is committed to making sure federal funds are spent appropriately, and the number of Serco staff is reviewed on a regular basis.” Serco did not respond to requests from KMOV-TV.
Serco’s parent company is one of the leading contractors with Great Britain’s government. The U.K.s Serious Fraud Office is investigating Serco for possibly falsifying information. Serco’s behavior was at one time considered so suspect that it was temporarily banned from competing for government contracts in Britain, reports the Daily Mail. That ban was lifted in February.
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