The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is adding security tools to Healthcare.gov after reports last week raised concerns about personal information shared on the governments website to buy health insurance.
Marketplace Chief Executive Officer Kevin Counihan wrote in a Saturday blog post that Healthcare.gov will add a layer of encryption to the sites window shopping interface to reduce information that is provided to third parties who receive information from Healthcare.gov.
The window shopping tool is an online calculator which allows a consumer to get an estimate of the cost of a policy by entering a zip code, income, age and checking a box if theyre a smoker, parent or pregnant but does not require the consumer to login, the agency said.
By encrypting the site, it prevents third parties from viewing the data the consumer entered.
This comes after the Associated Press reported and The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a technology policy advocacy group confirmed, that Healthcare.gov was sharing personal data, including ZIP code, income level, smoking status, pregnancy status and more, with at least 14 third parties.
In the Saturday post, HHS says while it has taken steps to improve Healthcare.gov, the department knows building and maintaining a website is an evolving process. . Thats why we will continue this review and take any concerns raised about privacy seriously and will work to address them.
Additional reporting by Greg Goth, a reporter for Health Data Management, a SourceMedia publication.
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