December 8, 2021

States worried about Obamacare Navigators and privacy

Several state attorneys general have sent a letter to HHS Secretary Sebelius raising concern about the thousands of Obamacare navigators who will be assisting consumers using the state exchanges to purchase insurance.Apparently, HHS is taking numerous shortcuts in vetting these navigators, who will have access to the personal and private information of consumers when helping them to decide which insurance policy is right for them.The Hill:

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi argued late Friday that new hires under ObamaCare could threaten the private information of people trying to get health insurance.  Bondi said that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is making it easier for someone to be hired as a so-called navigator, cutting back on background checks and eliminating a fingerprinting requirement, which could make it easier for a person’s private information to fall into the wrong hands. “Because of time constraints, HHS [is] cutting back on the requirement to become a navigator, meaning they’re not going to be doing background checks. They’re not going to be fingerprinting these people,” said Bondi in an interview with Fox. “And it’s more than navigators. It’s people that assist the navigators. Now, these navigators will have our consumers throughout the country’s most personal and private information — tax return information, Social Security information. And our biggest fear, of course, is identity theft.” A navigator is a federal employee who helps those wanting to get insured navigate the paperwork of the new healthcare system. “What if they’ve been convicted of committing identity theft or grand theft before?” asked Bondi. “They could potentially still become a navigator.” Earlier this week, Bondi and a dozen other Republican state attorneys general sent HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius a letter calling her attention to this privacy issue and asking her to implement more stringent privacy requirements and safeguards. They’ve given Sebelius until Aug. 28 to respond. The letter was organized by West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and signed by attorneys general from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas.

This is an entirely different issue than the security of the websites themselves, which HHS won’t be able to guarantee until one day before the exchanges are scheduled to open on October 1. But as with the security concerns of the system itself, the problem is the rush to complete the tasks before the roll out. It makes you wonder what these people have been doing in the three years since Obamacare was passed. Exit question: Would you trust the government when they say the websites are secure and the navigators are all on the up and up?I don’t think too many other Americans will either.