BY: Follow @LizWFB
The Kentucky Obamacare marketplace has no “expectation of privacy,” warning its prospective customers that their information can be monitored and shared with government bureaucrats.
When clicking “let’s get started” on the state-run health insurance marketplace “kynect,” the user is quickly prompted to a “WARNING NOTICE.”
“This is a government computer system and is the property of the Commonwealth of Kentucky,” it states. “It is for authorized use only regardless of time of day, location or method of access. “
“Users (authorized or unauthorized) have no explicit or implicit expectation of privacy,” the disclaimer reads. “Any or all uses of this system and all files on the system may be intercepted, monitored, recorded, copied, audited, inspected, and disclosed to authorized state government and law enforcement personnel, as well as authorized officials of other agencies, both domestic and foreign.”
Such information includes Social Security numbers. When calling kynect to enroll in the marketplace a person is told to have their Social Security card, immigration status, pay stubs, alimony payments, student loan information, and current health insurance information at the ready.
The kynect disclaimer says users information can be shared at the will of state government agencies.
“By using this system,” the warning states, “the user consents to such at the discretion of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.”
“Unauthorized or improper use of this system may result in administrative disciplinary action and/or civil and criminal penalties,” it says. “The unauthorized disclosure of Data containing privacy or health data may result in criminal penalties under Federal authority.”
A spokesperson for kynect called the disclaimer “problematic,” and said it was a mistake.
“The disclaimer is a federal requirement intended to let all who come on the website know this is a governmental entity and sensitive information is contained within,” said Gwenda Bond, assistant communications director for the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, told the Washington Free Beacon.
“While the language sounds severe, it actually is a warning to those who might try to inappropriately use the website or any personal information contained within,” she said. “We appreciate you bringing this to our attention, and we are working to modify the language so the message is more clear.”
Bond said kynect will update its website to read: “This website is the property of the Kentucky Health Benefit Exchange. This is to notify you that you are only authorized to use this site, or any information accessed through this site, for its intended purpose of assisting individuals, employers or employees in the selection or purchase of health plans or other benefits."
"Unauthorized access or disclosure of personal and confidential information may be punishable by fines under state and federal law. Unauthorized access to this website or access in excess of your authorization may also be criminally punishable. The Commonwealth of Kentucky and the Kentucky Health Benefit Exchange follow applicable federal and state guidelines to protect information from misuse or unauthorized access.”
Problems with the health insurance exchanges since their launch on Tuesday have been widespread, with reports of long wait times, glitches, and security concerns, with the disclosure of over 2,000 Social Security numbers in Minnesota.
The federal government is interested in sharing social and behavioral health data between agencies, the Free Beacon previously reported.