Strong privacy and security rules are crucial to the success of the new health insurance exchanges mandated by the Health Care Reform.
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These exchanges will require new and unique exchanges of data among state agencies, the federal government, private health plans, businesses, individuals and the exchange itself. This process will trigger the creation, collection, exchange, and disclosure of personally identifiable information. Exchanges will handle, at a minimum, basic demographic information, financial information, immigration information, incarceration information and Social Security Numbers.
If health insurance exchanges are built and implemented correctly, individuals will no longer need to decide whether to apply for public program or private insurance. Instead, individuals will have a single, online portal at which one application filed will be screened and result in the correct form of coverage and benefits depending on the applicant's circumstances. However, if adequate privacy rules and security safeguards do not protect the information collected by exchanges, individuals will not have sufficient trust in an exchange to take advantage of its benefits.