Tuesday marked the first day of open enrollment for the health-insurance exchanges set up by the Affordable Care Act. It didn’t govery well: Would-be health-insurance consumers in at least 47 states encountered technical problems. These so-called glitches, however, mask a much more serious concern for consumers: protecting sensitive data. The lack of sufficient security surrounding the exchanges should give potential enrollees pause.
In August, a coalition of attorneys general from 13 states wrote Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius to express concerns over consumer privacy and oversight of “navigators,” counselors charged with assisting consumers enrolling in the exchanges. Specifically, the attorneys general asked what policies were in place to screen and monitor program personnel, prevent fraud and remedy cases of it, and regulate the navigators at the state level. But chief among their concerns was whether sufficient safeguards were in place to prevent security breaches.