January 25, 2015 by Kim Laporte

Are Consumers’ Privacy At Risk On Government Healthcare Site?

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The Reason Behind The Creation Of HealthCare.gov

The website was created in order to follow suit the new healthcare program of the government. This serves as a portal to offer to the people who do lack healthcare coverage on their job, a government subsidized insurance. Healthcare.gov serves to a total of 37 states. The other states are operating their very own market for insurance.

There are millions of individuals who sign up in accordance with the healthcare law. Others also use the site in order to browse around and check for various insurance plans within their communities.

The Release of Personal Info Triggers Privacy Concern

doctor with male patientThere have been reports from AP that personal details of consumers were being sent off to third party companies. These companies specialize in the field of advertising and marketing.  What is even daunting is that information such as the income, age, ZIP code, if a woman is pregnant, and if people uses tobacco. Consumers were alarmed and demanded something needs to be done before things come to worst.

Then, on Friday it has been noted the government had already made some changes in order to lessen the release of personal information outside the site. Right before the move has been done – the government site in silence, sending off personal data towards third-party websites.

Healthcare.gov Should Be Trusted?

Having third party sites incorporated into HealthCare.gov raises questions such as what it sees, what is the purpose of it, etc. What it cannot see is a consumer’s full name, SS number, and birthdate. This can be a very lucrative way of dealing business. The mere fact that it can help sites like Facebook and Google as well as other companies to customize their ads to fit a consumer’s interest is one thing to be cautious about.

What-will-my-new-health-insurance-plan-coverWhat else these companies do know about you? It can be quite scary. How much more knowing that personal information have been getting out from the website towards third parties? Who would want to have that?

The government has taken its first step by reducing the flow of such personal data. This means they are not going to stop there. Privacy advocates are even stressing out to do more about it. Privacy issue like this should not be left behind the shadow and be forgotten. It is a huge thing and needs to be looked at a much greater perspective.

Personal information from millions of consumers around the country being given away without their consent should be stopped. This should not be tolerated by anyone in the government. Or else, this will create a trust issue between the government and the people.

What Now?

Way back 2013 the website in itself has faced technical issues. Right within this year there is a huge improvement and the site works even better now. However, the occurrence of this privacy issue serves as an eye-opener to everyone that the site is still on its way of improving itself. The government works closely in order to give the best service to the people. Amidst this controversy, one thing is for sure everything is indeed a work in progress.

As a consumer, it is incumbent upon us to make sure the government is transparent, sees any loopholes if any, and act upon on issues immediately. Before things get to worst and it can cause a huge damage to the entire country.

What do you think the government needs to do in order to protect us – the consumers from this kind of issue? If you have anything to share, do drop us a line!

 

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