New York’s Obamacare exchange sent out a friendly e-mail reminder about the looming enrollment deadline, and inadvertently revealed the personal e-mail addresses of potentially thousands of applicants.
The automated e-mail failed to make use of the “blind copy” option, which would have masked applicants’ addresses from others on the list.
Each e-mail was sent out in groups of 100, and involved residents that had submitted an application but hadn’t enrolled yet. That pool of individuals comes in at over 325,000 New Yorkers.
Some applicants to the New York health insurance exchange saw their email addresses revealed this week in a message reminding them of a March 31 enrollment deadline.
The automated email sent by the exchange on Monday went to New York residents who completed an online application process but hadn’t yet enrolled in insurance coverage. The message didn’t make use of the blind carbon copy feature, allowing recipients of the email to see the addresses of others who received it.
It wasn’t clear Wednesday how widespread the apparent privacy breach was.
There are 328,641 state residents who submitted an application and didn’t yet enroll, the Department of Health announced Tuesday. But the email was sent to just 100 recipients at a time, according to several copies of the message obtained Wednesday by Gannett’s Albany Bureau.
The state Department of Health issued a statement saying the e-mail was sent to just a small group of recipients, but failed to specify an exact number.
Several applicants hit Twitter to express their frustration with the New York health exchange, some by choice and others because it was their only outlet.
Lavonne Hall told WGRZ that she tried to alert the health exchange to the e-mail mistake on Twitter only after she got disconnected from the help line.