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Are Healthcare Exchanges Safe for Consumers? - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Are Healthcare Exchanges Safe for Consumers?

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Some harsh words Tuesday for a new program in Minnesota. On October 1st Minnesota will open its new insurance exchange. It's a system mandated by the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.

But already people are worried about the security of information after a MNsure employee leaked private data.

Tuesday a legislative panel overseeing MNure met to figure out if the organization is ready to handle personal information. Some folks in the Valley wonder if the program is broken before it even starts.

"There's always going to be threats, from a lot of outside sources." says Ben Gartin.

MNsure's web site is already up and running, but after 1,600 social security numbers and personal addresses were leaked it raises the question in many minds if the insurance exchange is something they will switch to.

"As long as you can deal with the breach I feel like it's helpful in the long-run, as long as they can prove they can deal with the breach." Gartin says.

"We live in very difficult times in terms of protecting our privacy and our security, so I wish we were safer than we are." Natasha Neihart agrees.

Many on Facebook said they wouldn't trust them with personal information, but another person says this isn't the only company or marketplace with a breach.

"Pretty much any security company, any company for that matter can face that kind of threat." Gartin points out. 

In Tuesday's meeting state officials tried proving the MNsure marketplace will be ready to open in one week. People will have six months to choose a health insurance plan before the March 31st deadline.

"Always something to take into consideration is the privacy and protection of your information." Gartin adds.

There's still some time to decide who you will get your health insurance through. But for those who miss the deadline there is a fine. A person will be charged 1% of their yearly income or $95 per person, whichever is more.

The MNsure employee who released the data has since been fired.  MNsure is designed to help more than one million Minnesotans buy health insurance.

North Dakota has opted out of starting its own marketplace, and will instead use the federal exchange.

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