Health insurance exchange website security gets a boost

Health Insurance Exchange
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The Obama administration has responded to criticisms from civil liberties advocates with strengthened protection.

Following criticism that the Obama administration has received from civil liberties advocates, it has now stated that it will be strengthening the security of its health insurance exchange website, just as a new open enrollment period is about to begin.

The page will now feature a new “privacy manager” that will offer users additional control.

According to a blog post by Kevin Counihan, the CEO of HealthCare.gov, the federal health insurance exchange website, the site will feature a “privacy manager” section that will give consumers the ability to choose to opt out of any embedded connections to third party analytics, advertising, and social media. Moreover, the website will now respect the “Do Not Track” option if it has been selected from among browser settings, in terms of receiving digital advertising for the insurance marketplace website.

The third party connections were originally embedded to enhance the health insurance exchange experience.

Health Insurance ExchangeHowever, according to a report that was issued earlier in 2015 by the Associated Press, the links can also cause certain pieces of personal information (such as age, ZIP code, smoking status, pregnancy and income) to be shared with technology companies that are involved in advertising and marketing activities.

The civil liberties group is now applauding the commitment to privacy in the health insurance exchange site.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation was the civil liberties group that had been criticizing the health insurance marketplace site’s privacy weaknesses. Now, they are saying that the changes the government has made to the site are a reflection of the administration’s commitment to the protection of the privacy of the site’s users. At the same time, it did point out that there remains some room for improvement in the site’s privacy security.

In response, officials from the Obama administration have said that they are quite open to continuing to improve the security the exchange website provides its users.

According to Electronic Frontier Foundation staff technologist, Cooper Quintin, “We applaud HealthCare.gov’s decision to support ‘Do Not Track’ and give their users strong privacy controls.” When discussing the recent changes to the health insurance exchange site, Quintin also said that “We think that this is a great first step (and) would be thrilled to see more organizations, both public and private, follow their lead.”

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