The employee of Minnesota’s health insurance exchange who released private data on about 1,600 insurance agents no longer works for the state.
Minnesota Management and Budget provided the information on Sept. 24 to The Associated Press. Previously, officials said the employee no longer worked for MNsure but wouldn’t reveal if the person was terminated or transferred to another agency.
MNsure’s executive director says the employee violated policies by storing unencrypted, private information on a computer desktop. The file was accidentally emailed to an insurance agent in Burnsville, which sparked privacy concerns as MNsure prepares to launch the website to deliver federal health care changes to Minnesotans.
The employee started as a broker-coordinator at MNsure in August at a base salary of about $62,000 a year. The last day of employment was Friday.
Lawmakers on a panel that oversees MNsure have questioned whether a recent security breach involving personal information of about 1,500 insurance agents showed that the new agency is not yet prepared to handle personal data of the thousands of people expected to shop for insurance through its website.
“A lot of people are unsure about MNsure,” said state Rep. Joe Hoppe, R-Chaska, who voted against the bill that created Minnesota’s exchange.
But Chris Buse, the state’s chief information security officer, described MNsure’s data privacy measures as “state of the art.”
“I believe this system, and the security model we have in place is the best in state government today,” Buse said.
The MNsure website opens for enrollment on Oct. 1, with coverage taking affect as early as Jan. 1. It is Minnesota’s primary consumer vehicle for delivering federal health insurance changes designed to lower the number of uninsured people around the country. By 2016, about 1.3 million Minnesotans are expected to use the online marketplace to obtain their insurance.
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