Cyber Security Experts Call for HealthCare.gov Delays

At a Congressional hearing last week, four cyber security experts expressed serious doubts about the safety of enrollee information on the federal health insurance website HealthCare.gov.

Four experts appeared at the hearing, including two private sector technical researchers and two academics, according to a report by Reuters. The hearing was held Tuesday, November 19, by the House Science, Space and Technology Committee. When asked by lawmakers if the website—which has been plagued by technical problems and a botched rollout—is secure, all four panelists said “no.”

When asked by Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) if the website should be taken offline until the problems are fixed, three of the four expert panelists said yes, while one said he needed further information to make a decision.

In written testimony, panelist David Kennedy, head of computer security at Trusted Sec, and a former US Marine Corps cyber intelligence analyst, estimated that it would take a minimum of seven to 12 months to remedy Healthcare.gov’s issues while it was shut down, due to its size and scope, Reuters reported.

While the Obama administration had initially promised to have the site running bug-free by Nov. 30, some industry watchers suspect government web developers will miss the deadline. Modern Healthcare has reported that some experts are hailing a “Plan B” to the federal exchange site that would allow individuals to enroll for health insurance through direct enrollment with insurers.

Additionally, the Department of Health and Human Services has announced two implementation date delays. The open enrollment date for 2015 plans has been moved back by one month, to Nov. 15, 2014. And consumers have an extra week, until December 23, 2013, to sign up for coverage effective January 1, 2014, according to Modern Healthcare.

 

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