Hackers compromised the computer system that interacts with the HealthCare website, HealthCare.gov, used by insurance agents to directly enrol the customers for the insurance plan, said officials at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Approximately 75,000 people personal data were accessed by the hackers.
The open enrollment period to sign up for a health plan under the Affordable Care Act started on October 20 and runs until December 15.
The Federally Facilitated Exchange’s Direct Enrollment pathway, which is used by agents and brokers to help customers enrol in health insurance, was compromised between October 13 and 16.
Customers applying for healthcare plans should provide details such as names, addresses, social security number, citizenship, and income details. CMS did not provide any details on what kind of data stolen by hackers.
In a statement to CNN, CMS said the system that was exposed through the hack was the Direct Enrollment pathway, which allows agents and brokers to assist consumers with applications for coverage in the Federally Facilitated Exchanges, or FFE. The statement detailed that the agent and broker accounts that were associated with the hack were “deactivated, and — out of an abundance of caution — the Direct Enrollment pathway for agents and brokers was disabled.” Both HealthCare.gov and the Marketplace Call Center remain in operation.
“Our number one priority is the safety and security of the Americans we serve. We will continue to work around the clock to help those potentially impacted and ensure the protection of consumer information,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma.
“We are working to get this functionality that exchanges agents and brokers use back up within seven days,” a representative for CMS told CNN. When asked if the source of the hacking had been identified and if the system was in a good place ahead of the sign-up season beginning in November for coverage under the Affordable Care Act, the representative could not answer due to it being an active federal law enforcement investigation.