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August 15, 2013
For More Information, contact:
Luther Strange
Joy Patterson (334) 242-7491
Alabama Attorney General
Claire Haynes (334) 242-7351
Page 1 of 2


MONTGOMERY–Attorney General Luther Strange today announced that
Alabama joined 12 other states in a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services (HHS) expressing grave concerns about consumers’ private information being
protected under the new health insurance exchanges that are set to go into effect this
The letter to Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says very few concrete privacy
protection measures have been written into HHS’s rules governing programs that assist
consumers with enrolling in the new health care exchanges created as part of the
Affordable Care Act (ACA).
“The various groups and agencies involved in Obamacare will have significant
access to consumers’ personal information. Yet HHS rules do not make any clear
provisions to protect the privacy of such information,” Attorney General Strange said.
“Although HHS rules indicate there will be ‘extensive’ training, the agency has already
reduced the number of required training hours to just 20. Such shortcuts are ill-advised
and will simply lead to more problems.”
The ACA provides funding for groups, such as navigators, to help consumers
enroll in health insurance plans. As part of that process, these navigators and other
assistance personnel will have significant access to consumers’ private and personal
data. However, HHS’s rules fail to ensure that navigators will be adequately trained to
safeguard data provided by consumers. The rules also fail to make clear who is
responsible if an identity theft occurs.
Even more concerning is that the rules do not require criminal background
checks or fingerprint checks of potential navigator hires and do not list any prior
criminal acts as being a disqualifier for someone seeking to work with consumers.

501 Washington Avenue * Montgomery, AL 36104 * (334) 242-7300
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“The risk of inadequate training is only one issue I am concerned about,”
Attorney General Strange said. “The proposed consumer safeguards also are woefully
substandard and come up short when compared to other privacy protections at the
state and federal level. HHS must understand that it is not enough to adopt vague
policies against fraud. Each person collecting information will be in a position of trust
and will have access to a wide variety of personal information from consumers.
Therefore, HHS must implement an on-the-ground plan to secure personal information,
follow up on complaints, and work with law enforcement to prosecute bad counselors.
Otherwise this is a disaster waiting to happen.”
In their letter, the attorneys general raise eight areas of concern and ask HHS a
series of questions about steps the agency will take to ensure citizens are protected. The
attorneys general ask HHS to respond to their questions by August 28, 2013.
Along with Alabama, other states joining in the letter are West Virginia, Florida,
Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma,
South Carolina and Texas.