Stanislaus County doesn't get call center's hundreds of jobs

01/18/2013 7:14 PM

06/26/2013 2:31 PM

Stanislaus County was not chosen to operate one of three call centers in the state that will help uninsured adults get insurance under the federal health-care reform law.

The California Health Benefit Exchange said it intended to award the contract to Contra Costa County, the other county that competed for the center. The exchange posted a notice on its website Friday and notified Stanislaus County of the decision in a telephone call, a county official said. "We are very disappointed in the state's decision; however, we support our colleagues at Contra Costa County," said Kristie Santos, assistant director of the StanWORKS program.

The exchange allows five working days for protesting the decision by its oversight board, but there was no indication that Stanislaus County would file a protest.

A successful bid could have created 250 to 300 jobs in Stanislaus County, officials had estimated. The Community Services Agency began exploring a partnership with the exchange in September after learning the agency was looking for a county to operate a call center. In late October, county supervisors gave the green light for staff to develop a proposal.

Besides Contra Costa and Stanislaus, Sacramento County initially expressed interest in running the center but didn't make a formal bid.

Stanislaus proposed to run the 40,000-square-foot center for $65 million to $70 million over three years, using federal and state money to get the center up and running.

Santos said the county's proposal was competitive and the county wasn't given many details on why Contra Costa was chosen.

The California exchange plans to open two more state-run call centers as it creates an affordable health insurance marketplace under the federal law signed by President Barack Obama in 2010. Provisions of the law will make health insurance mandatory in 2014, and about 2 million Californians will buy subsidized health insurance through the exchange.

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