As states continue to labor toward health insurance exchanges, there have been concerns raised regarding the safety of medical and insurance documents stored online. These concerns stem from a provision of the Affordable Care Act that has health care and insurance professionals store consumer information electronically to allow quick and easy access. Electronic storage will be a major part of the coming online insurance exchanges, as it will allow doctors to access important medical information when treating patients. The safety of these documents has been questioned as hackers continue to sow strife in the online world.
In California, more than 300,000 documents have been compromised. These documents were stored on the Internet and contained medical information, Social Security numbers and insurance forms. The sensitive documents were stored on a website by Southern California Medical-Legal Consultants, who believed that only state employees had access to. This belief was proven false, however, when Aaron Titus, a researcher at Identity Finder, an Internet security firm, found the documents through a simple web search.
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Fortunately, Titus’ first move was to alert officials that the personal information of thousands was at risk. While moves were made to protect these documents, it is unclear whether others had accessed the information through the same means that Titus had. This has led many to question the overall safety of online storing methods and officials have begun considering acquiring insurance protection against cyber attacks.