GOP Bill Would Delay PPACA Exchange Enrollment Until Privacy Confirmed

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) has introduced a bill that would delay open enrollment for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act health insurance exchanges until the Government Accountability Office and the HHS Office of Inspector General verify necessary data security and privacy parameters are in place.

orrin hatchSen. Hatch said it would be irresponsible to allow the exchanges to open for enrollment Oct. 1 without making sure consumers' personal information is adequately protected, according to a news release. Although the Obama administration has said there are safeguards in place, their claims must be verified by an independent review, he said.

The bill echoes a request Sen. Hatch made in August for the GAO to assess the security of the data hub for the health insurance exchanges. The hub — which would gather information from federal agencies and state governments — is set to go online Oct. 1, along with the insurance exchanges. The hub will be used to process applications for health insurance and determine eligibility for tax credits to cover the cost of premiums.

In a letter to the GAO, Sen. Hutch requested details on the security and privacy of the hub, risk management efforts from federal agencies involved in the hub's creation and plans for correcting any issues. His letter followed a report from the HHS OIG stating a CMS contractor missed scheduled deadlines for submitting security documents concerning the hub.

Republican lawmakers have also raised concerns about the possibility of identity theft and privacy violations in the insurance marketplaces through the navigator program. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee released a staff report earlier this week stating the PPACA navigator and in-person assistance programs lack basic safeguards against fraud and abuse. The navigators and in-person assisters will perform informational services for Americans who need assistance in shopping for and enrolling in plans this fall.

Meanwhile, Attorney General Eric Holder, Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Edith Ramirez and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius met at the White House yesterday to launch a new initiative to prevent, protect against and, if necessary, prosecute consumer fraud and privacy violations in the health insurance marketplaces through efforts such as establishing a rapid response system for addressing potential threats.

More Articles on PPACA Security Concerns:
Sen. Orrin Hatch Requests PPACA Data Hub Evaluation
Federal Initiative Aims to Protect PPACA Insurance Exchange Consumers
Republican Report Raises PPACA Navigator Identity Theft Concerns 

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