Healthcare.gov security questioned

Readers report onslaught of sales calls after logging on, though officials maintain site is secure
by Paula Burkes Modified: November 23, 2013 at 10:00 am •  Published: November 23, 2013
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Ashley Hudgeons said Blue Cross isn't making outbound calls to individuals who have shopped or enrolled on healthcare.gov, nor are vendors calling on the company's behalf, she said.

“We do typically follow up with existing or potential members who've expressed interest on our own websites,” Hudgeons said. “It has always been part of our process, and we're here to answer member questions and walk them through the enrollment process if need be.”

Oklahoma City health care and employee benefit attorneys were skeptical.

“I'd say either scam artists are just calling people in the area or the marketplace is not secure,” said Cori Loomis of Crowe & Dunlevy.

Jim Prince of McAfee & Taft said, “I think that the follow-up question is ‘Do they restrict the use of information that they provide for marketplace-related purposes, i.e. if an insurer gets contact information as a result of participating in the marketplace, does the government prohibit them from using it once the user logs off?' ”

Meanwhile, Lois Greisman, director of Federal Trade Commission's Division of Marketing Practices, believes such calls are resulting from consumers surfing carriers' sites or copycat sites such as healthcare.com.

She said the commission hasn't received calls about this particular complaint, but consumers, she said, always should be leery of calls from “the government” or “Medicare” and not give out bank account or Social Security numbers, and other private information.

“Unfortunately, scams involving calls from the government are rampant,” Greisman said, “and marketers always are ready to pounce.”


by Paula Burkes
Reporter
A 1981 journalism graduate of Oklahoma State University, Paula Burkes has more than 30 years experience writing and editing award-winning material for newspapers and healthcare, educational and telecommunications institutions in Tulsa, Oklahoma...
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How to help

To report unscrupulous marketing calls, call the Federal Trade Commission at (877) 382-4357.

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