The vendor, Accenture, originally was supposed to have a back-end system running by mid-January. The federal government then pushed the deadline back to mid-March. Now, Sarich said, he thinks the idea that Accenture will have the back-end systems ready by this fall may be optimistic.
Even state exchanges with well-functioning IT teams can't integrate their systems with the federal back-end system, let alone test integration, Sarich said. Because of the lack of functional back-end systems, simply sending Obamacare participants accurate bills and paying claims accurately depends on manual work-arounds.
Sarich said he thinks getting the public exchanges systems to work properly could take three to five years, in part because of the exchange systems will have to connect with what, at least for now, are antiquated systems that rely heavily on floppy disks and COBOL.