CMS Acknowledges Healthcare.gov Identity Swap, Victim Says Site ‘Not Secure’
(WASHINGTON) -- New questions have arisen about the security on healthcare.gov, now that HHS acknowledges a glitch led to the personal information of a South Carolina man winding up in the account of another man from a neighboring state.
Attorney Tom Dougall of Elgin, S.C. tells ABC News he browsed healthcare.gov early last month. After successfully filling out an application, he decided the plans offered were too expensive to pursue.
Then, last Friday night, Dougall says he got a call from a man in North Carolina who claimed he was staring right at Dougall’s personal information when he logged into healthcare.gov under his own account.
Dougall says when he called HHS to complain, the person on the line advised him to call the Federal Trade Commssion. He called his local congressman instead.
The story appeared in conservative blogs over the weekend, and Monday night on ABC television affiliate WLOS in Asheville, N.C.
CMS acknowledged this incident Tuesday in a conference call with reporters, saying a “piece of software code” caused the glitch and a fix has already been put in place. Spokeswoman Julie Batallie insisted the government has had just one report of such an identity swap occurring on the site, and she refused to speculate that other people’s identities may have been compromised.
For his part, Dougall now wants nothing more to do with healthcare.gov. In fact, he says he’s repeatedly asked HHS to remove all his personal data from the site, to prevent it from winding up in anyone else’s hands.
“The system is not secure,” Dougall believes, advising other Americans that “if they are willing to enroll on the system, they are putting their personal information at risk.”
At Tuesday morning’s hearing, CMS administrator Maryiln Tavenner told Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., that CMS has tried to reach out to Dougall “several times.” But Dougall, whose office phone number is easily accessible in an online search, flatly insisted to ABC News that as of 3:15 p.m. ET, he’d had no contact from HHS.
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