Is there any secure way to sign up for Obamacare? It’s becoming an increasingly valid question.
Hacker-turned-security-expert Kevin Mitnick told Congress last week that HealthCare.gov had only “shameful” and “minimal” protections. And David Kennedy, a leading computer-security expert, said: “I don’t understand how we’re still discussing whether the website is insecure or not. It is insecure –100 percent.”
One could certainly be forgiven for hesitating to sign up online—but it looks like enrolling through an official navigator might be a risky process, too.
I write today that in as many as 31 states, there are no background-check requirements for navigators. Other states have only partial requirements, creating a criminal-history screening for some types of navigators and not others. Only six states have comprehensive requirements.
I confirmed earlier this week that at least one convicted felon is working as a navigator in Connecticut. And in New Mexico, records show that 38 people—one in seven of the navigators—showed up in the FBI’s crime database, though a match doesn’t necessarily signify a conviction.
That’s disconcerting, especially given the amount of confidential information consumers hand over when they sign up for health insurance. New Mexico’s records showed multiple people with financial crimes in their background applying to become navigators; fortunately, the state’s rigorous scrutiny prevented them from becoming certified. Aspiring identity thieves in the 31 states without background checks must surely see a criminal opportunity.
In at least three states, a legislative effort is underway to strengthen background-check requirements for navigators. As one source I spoke to noted, that’s a positive step, but it should have been a federal requirement, included in Obamacare implementation from the beginning.
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