Nestande Requests Info on Protecting Privacy of Covered California Enrollees

The state assemblyman for the Coachella Valley and San Gorgonio Pass is concerned about recent reports of apparent privacy breaches within Covered California, according to his staff.

Assemblyman Brian Nestande, R-Palm Desert, sent a request Tuesday to the Executive Director of the California Health Benefits Exchange "to provide information on the protocols and procedures to protect the privacy of enrollees," Nestande's staff said in a statement.

"Californians that sign up for health insurance through the Exchange must not only provide their tax returns and other private financial information, but they must also provide information on their health history," Nestande said. "It is vital that the State of California protect consumers as part of this process."

Earlier this year, Assembly Republican Leader Conway introduced Assembly Bill 3, according to Nestande's staff.

"This measure would have prohibited anyone convicted of felony crimes of dishonesty or breach of trust from being hired by, or contracting with, Covered California for the purposes of facilitating enrollment individuals in the Exchange," Nestande's staff said.

The measure did not move forward but SB 509 was signed into law, requiring individuals with access to personally identifying information to submit to a background check, Nestande's staff said.

Nestande's concern is that SB 509 did not include a strict prohibition on employment for people with criminal records relating to breach of trust or crimes of dishonesty, according to his staff.

"Covered California had agreed to adopt a robust privacy protection policy that would protect California residents, as enrollees are required to submit personal, financial, and medical information in order to enroll," Nestande's staff said.

Part of Nestande's request on Tuesday "asks for a copy of the written policy used to conduct background checks, if individuals who underwent a background check were denied or granted employment, what the policy is for complaints from consumers who’s privacy may have been breached, and if there is a prohibition from contractors using personal identifying information for matters unrelated to health insurance," Nestande's staff said.

Nestande represents the 42nd Assembly District, which includes Banning, Beaumont, Cabazon, Calimesa, Cherry Valley, Hemet, Indian Wells, La Quinta, Mentone, Morongo Valley, Oak Glen, Palm Desert, Palm Springs, Rancho Mirage, San Jacinto, Twentynine Palms, Yucaipa and Yucca Valley.

For more info about Covered California visit www.coveredca.com.


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