Obamacare opportunities… for identity theft

posted at 11:31 am on February 8, 2014 by Jazz Shaw

Jillian Kay Melchior has an informative – and rather alarming – article up at National Review detailing a less discussed aspect of Obamacare which consumers should be aware of. Identity theft gets a lot of coverage in the media (think Target most recently), but I was unaware that the majority of such theft and fraud takes place in the area of medical supplies and services.

Most identity theft in the United States is medical-related, according to a recent report from the Identity Theft Resource Center. The survey was released even as certain aspects of Obamacare enrollment have raised concerns about identity theft and consumer privacy.

The Center defines medical identity theft as “the fraudulent use of an individual’s personally identifiable information, such as name, Social Security number, and/or medical insurance identity number to obtain medical goods or services, or to fraudulently bill for medical goods or services using an unlawfully obtained medical identity,” also noting that it “has profound consequences for patients, insurance providers and health care providers.”

In 2012 alone, medical identity theft increased by nearly 25 percent, affecting 1.85 million Americans, according to another recent report from the Ponemon Institute, which researches privacy issues.

This makes sense, since it’s probably easier to fraudulently steal a large amount of money from a giant, overburdened medical insurance system than to take a small amount from an individual who may be closely watching their credit card statements each month. It’s a new world of organized crime taking place in cyberspace. And now, consider the “opportunities” opening up to such criminals if there are millions of people feeding their personal information into a new, untested, and highly unstable online system like the healthcare dot gov website. It should give us pause.

But that doesn’t mean that opportunities for the “small business” individual thief are completely absent. The so called “navigators” who are supposed to help you find your way through the byzantine maze of Obamacare have access to all sorts of information which could pave the way to mischief. But they’re all trustworthy, honest individuals, right? Melchior finds that, at least in California, that may not be such a safe assumption either.

At least 43 convicted criminals are working as Obamacare navigators in California, including three individuals with records of significant financial crimes.

Although some of the offenses are decades old, and although convicted criminals account for only 1 percent of the 3,729 certified enrollment counselors in the state, Californians still have good cause to be concerned about their privacy…

Limited statistics released by Covered California — the state’s new health-insurance exchange — showed that one navigator has repeat forgery offenses — one in 1982, then another in 1994, with a burglary in between. Another had two forgery convictions in 1988, in addition to a domestic-violence charge a decade later. Another committed welfare fraud in 1999 and had shoplifted on at least two prior occasions. Since 2000, individuals now working as navigators have committed crimes including child abuse, battery, petty theft, and evading a police officer. At least seven navigators have multiple convictions.

The sub-title of that second article really says it all. Officials say a criminal record should not keep someone from getting a job. But why this job?

Bad ideas, when crafted into legislation, result in bad laws. Even good ideas, when implemented stupidly, can turn sour quickly. But when you stupidly implement a bad idea, you’ve entered a whole new universe of fail.


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Bishop? Bishop! No yelling, he has a headache.

Lourdes on February 8, 2014 at 11:32 AM

Welfare fraud, burglary, forgery, shoplifting, all the qualities that make a dedicated demorat voter, no wonder they were tapped for this job.

This administration can’t even encrypt their diplomatic phone lines but we’re supposed to trust them to protect millions of people from identity theft.

Bishop on February 8, 2014 at 11:36 AM

THIS should be the number one reason why people should avoid signing up for Obamacare. If Target has trouble keeping your information secure, what makes you think this gargantuan bureaucratic-industrial complex screw-up is going to be any better?

You might as well put all your personal information on Craigslist.

mintycrys on February 8, 2014 at 11:39 AM

Unexpectedly….or something…

workingclass artist on February 8, 2014 at 11:45 AM

I wonder which is the bigger risk: Signing up for Obamacare or connecting your computer to WiFi in Sochi.

Occams Stubble on February 8, 2014 at 11:45 AM

I wouldn’t want them cleaning the floors of the exchanges. Too close to the garabge cans.

plutorocks on February 8, 2014 at 11:48 AM

Unexpectedly….or something…

workingclass artist on February 8, 2014 at 11:45 AM

If only someone had tried to warn us before passing this…

Jazz Shaw on February 8, 2014 at 11:55 AM

Ever see ads on TV for scooters, canes, diabetic supplies, etc, with “We’ll bill Medicare for you”?

Yes, they will, and now they have all your personal informaiton too.

Wethal on February 8, 2014 at 11:58 AM

A Nevada judge has just ordered the state to give out the criminal records of all navigators. This was discoverable public information under the state FOIA, but the state had been fighting it.

Wethal on February 8, 2014 at 12:00 PM

Pshaw!!

It’s all good, Obama sure is dreamy…..

BigWyo on February 8, 2014 at 12:02 PM

It’s the same reason that thieves end up in the federal government. It’s where the greatest quantity of unguarded money is laying around.

RBMN on February 8, 2014 at 12:07 PM

Unexpectedly….or something…

workingclass artist on February 8, 2014 at 11:45 AM

If only someone had tried to warn us before passing this…

Jazz Shaw on February 8, 2014 at 11:55 AM

Some days it feels like being in Bedlam as the Aristocrats do their tours….

workingclass artist on February 8, 2014 at 12:10 PM

In MD I need a handgun licence and finger prints to qualify for a background check to buy a gun.

An Obamacare navigator though? Looks like they just need to check that “do you really really promise not to seal peoples identity” box on the 3 question application.

Gatsu on February 8, 2014 at 12:11 PM

You might as well put all your personal information on Craigslist.

mintycrys on February 8, 2014 at 11:39 AM

Or give it to the next Nigerian telemarketer that calls.

crankyoldlady on February 8, 2014 at 12:20 PM

Welfare fraud, burglary, forgery, shoplifting, all the qualities that make a dedicated demorat voter, no wonder they were tapped for this job.

This administration can’t even encrypt their diplomatic phone lines but we’re supposed to trust them to protect millions of people from identity theft.

Bishop on February 8, 2014 at 11:36 AM
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Two thoughts. (1) Before ACA the government purchased in one form or another (Medicare/Medicade/VA/Medicare Advantage/States with various Chip programs) 50% of health care. These systems were working at a grade level of C+. ACA only added the other remaining 50% and what a mess it is and will become. Not only does top down control just at best work okay…..President Obama and his team totally screwed up the part that was working. You win the top down government/planning argument hands down.

(2) Then you have the website interface with the public which my company could have designed for 1/10th the costs. The problem was not CGI, but the government bozos managing the project. Not sure any of those folks have even see a gantt chart or timeline. They must think a critical path is a yellow line to the rest rooms!

Even though I have great insurance provided by me, I also can afford self pay and have a cash payment agreement with my FAA doctor and regular doctor so my family and I are okay.

You win this round or is it most will lose because of ACA?

HonestLib on February 8, 2014 at 12:27 PM

Criminal background checks would have excluded too many minorities. Obamacare was a Dem patronage jobs bill, too, and not just for Michelle’s Princeton classmate.

This is also why the Obama EEOC is going after employers who use criminal checks to screen job applicants. Raaaaacist.

Wethal on February 8, 2014 at 12:27 PM

Criminal background checks would have excluded too many minorities. Obamacare was a Dem patronage jobs bill, too, and not just for Michelle’s Princeton classmate.

This is also why the Obama EEOC is going after employers who use criminal checks to screen job applicants. Raaaaacist.

Wethal on February 8, 2014 at 12:27 PM
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Close and no need to bring up race. Think more along the lines of Bertha Lewis and the new “Acorn”. Part of ACA is a GOTV effort. See, got your point across without bringing up race or minorities. Stop giving my buddy Libby a platform to bring of racism.

HonestLib on February 8, 2014 at 12:36 PM

RBMN on February 8, 2014 at 12:07 PM

Same answer as Willie Sutton is said to have given when asked why he robbed banks, “That’s where the money is.”

battalion on February 8, 2014 at 12:39 PM

I wonder which is the bigger risk: Signing up for Obamacare or connecting your computer to WiFi in Sochi.

Occams Stubble on February 8, 2014 at 11:45 AM

That would be signing up for 404ChoomCare. Turn out the Sochi WiFi story was another made-up NBC fabrication.

RoadRunner on February 8, 2014 at 12:40 PM

I’m sure that none of that personal identification will be used for voter fraud.
That was the main goal of the whole project imo. That and the 100′s of million $ that vanished in order to build a million dollar website, that doesn’t work and need more tax money to “fix”.
WHY is asking for an accounting of where that money went not an important question to ask?

Mimzey on February 8, 2014 at 12:43 PM

You win this round or is it most will lose because of ACA?

HonestLib on February 8, 2014 at 12:27 PM

Most will lose as in their jobs, savings, houses, businesses, etc.

Trusting this or any government to run a complex system involving 300+ million people is foolish in ways that can’t be measured with existing science.

Bishop on February 8, 2014 at 12:44 PM

HonestLib on February 8, 2014 at 12:36 PM

Thank You!!

I like what you had to say, some honest exchange… welcome to HA!

Scrumpy on February 8, 2014 at 12:45 PM

Scrumpy on February 8, 2014 at 12:45 PM

Time will tell. Classic liberal or progressive, someone who voted Dog Eater in 2008 and did not in 2012, or pulled the lever twice.

Bishop on February 8, 2014 at 12:48 PM

Bishop on February 8, 2014 at 12:48 PM

I shall keep an open mind Bishop :)

It was so different to what the trolls bring…

I rarely am on during the daytime, and I should in order to keep up!!

Scrumpy on February 8, 2014 at 12:51 PM

Close and no need to bring up race. Think more along the lines of Bertha Lewis and the new “Acorn”. Part of ACA is a GOTV effort. See, got your point across without bringing up race or minorities. Stop giving my buddy Libby a platform to bring of racism.

HonestLib on February 8, 2014 at 12:36 PM

The EEOC brings up race as to this. So?

Wethal on February 8, 2014 at 12:53 PM

OT, but it’s all the same cabal.

Harlots for sale

Schadenfreude on February 8, 2014 at 12:59 PM

Obama sure is dreamy…..

BigWyo on February 8, 2014 at 12:02 PM


Choomy is more like it.

Schadenfreude on February 8, 2014 at 1:03 PM

Bishop? Bishop! No yelling, he has a headache.

Lourdes on February 8, 2014 at 11:32 AM

Welfare fraud, burglary, forgery, shoplifting, all the qualities that make a dedicated demorat voter, no wonder they were tapped for this job.

This administration can’t even encrypt their diplomatic phone lines but we’re supposed to trust them to protect millions of people from identity theft.

Bishop on February 8, 2014 at 11:36 AM

…Uh Oh!

KOOLAID2 on February 8, 2014 at 1:07 PM

Unfortunately when idiot legislators pass such laws, they are immune from any type of prosecution when the you-know-what hits the fan.

In most civil suits “knew, should have known, reasonably foreseeable” are causes of action.

But not when it comes to elected officials.

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors put into place rules that did not allow police to turn over a juvenile MS 13 gang member to INS. That “juvenile” subsequently murdered a man and his two sons “because they got in my way”. Any repercussions for the Board? No.

GarandFan on February 8, 2014 at 1:08 PM

If they don’t check TSA applicants for criminal records, why would they bother with Obamacare Navigator applicants?

Anyway, if you believe the idiot Eric Holder’s theories of disparate impact, checking for a criminal background is racist.

slickwillie2001 on February 8, 2014 at 1:12 PM

This administration can’t even encrypt their diplomatic phone lines but we’re supposed to trust them to protect millions of people from identity theft.

Bishop on February 8, 2014 at 11:36 AM

But they can blame the Russkies for their guttural behavior.

Schadenfreude on February 8, 2014 at 1:12 PM

If Obama had a son, he would be a navigator.

jukin3 on February 8, 2014 at 1:18 PM

obama hates the middle/lower classes and women, except when they are sheepledom, in his plantations.

Schadenfreude on February 8, 2014 at 1:41 PM

If Obama had a son, he would be a navigator Pajama Boy.

jukin3 on February 8, 2014 at 1:18 PM

Not that your suggestion isn’t good, but…

Wethal on February 8, 2014 at 1:42 PM

You win this round or is it most will lose because of ACA?

HonestLib on February 8, 2014 at 12:27 PM

Most will lose as in their jobs, savings, houses, businesses, etc.

Trusting this or any government to run a complex system involving 300+ million people is foolish in ways that can’t be measured with existing science.

Bishop on February 8, 2014 at 12:44 PM
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We exist in both a micro and macro world and there were winners and losers before ACA and there will be winners and losers after ACA.

Micro view….Winners used to be the healthy as they paid lower premiums for health insurance. Now the healthy are the losers as they will pay higher costs to subsidize the poor, old, and unhealthy. My post are way too long and I know you know most of the reasons why the above is true. Not fair, but true non-the-less.

Macro view….Always has and always will be winners and losers. It is how the invisible hand of the economy, some say markets, works and allocates resources and wealth. Trick is to keep on your feet, stay out of debt, focus, and adapt. The economy does not act and react to “transactions” it adapts/adjusts. That is what the winners do. Hope the folks understand what I mean by “transactions” as my long posts seem to be a thread killer and I will stop.

I have a funny story why, being a full on Liberal/Progressive, I was asked to no longer post at Huff Post.

HonestLib on February 8, 2014 at 1:59 PM

I read in the paper today that Target’s hack job was from a vendor. A heating and air conditioning vendor. That is scary.

Cindy Munford on February 8, 2014 at 2:19 PM

Close and no need to bring up race. Think more along the lines of Bertha Lewis and the new “Acorn”. Part of ACA is a GOTV effort. See, got your point across without bringing up race or minorities. Stop giving my buddy Libby a platform to bring of racism.

HonestLib on February 8, 2014 at 12:36 PM

The EEOC brings up race as to this. So?

Wethal on February 8, 2014 at 12:53 PM
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I would aim a little higher when it comes to my personal behavior than any government agency. Especially one I would guess you use as a pejorative. Hey, I just used a little Uncle Saul on you! Chuckle!

HonestLib on February 8, 2014 at 2:43 PM

The sub-title of that second article really says it all. Officials say a criminal record should not keep someone from getting a job. But why this job?

It won’t change, until Congress gets involved and passes more restrictions about limiting access to medical information by convicted felons.

It’s not really a problem for private businesses, because the fear of litigation is enough for them to be careful about who they hire. But the government is beyond threat of lawsuit, so they don’t have to worry about it.

I had never heard that most identity theft was related to medical care, but it makes sense. The level of detail in medical information includes all kinds of things that are highly useful to identity thefts, like mother’s maiden name, social security number, birthdate, current and former addresses, home and work phone numbers, next of king, etc. Some financial sites rather foolishly will assume that asking for your mother’s maiden name is enough to screen out identity thieves.

There Goes the Neighborhood on February 8, 2014 at 2:52 PM

Close and no need to bring up race. Think more along the lines of Bertha Lewis and the new “Acorn”. Part of ACA is a GOTV effort. See, got your point across without bringing up race or minorities. Stop giving my buddy Libby a platform to bring of racism.

HonestLib on February 8, 2014 at 12:36 PM

The EEOC brings up race as to this. So?

Wethal on February 8, 2014 at 12:53 PM

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I would aim a little higher when it comes to my personal behavior than any government agency. Especially one I would guess you use as a pejorative. Hey, I just used a little Uncle Saul on you! Chuckle!

HonestLib on February 8, 2014 at 2:43 PM

It still seems a valid point, though, based on:

a) the well-established loyalty of blacks to the Democrat party
b) the oft-quoted statistics about the relative number of black people — especially males — with criminal records
c) the strong implication that the Obama administration regards Obamacare as a gold mine for get-out-the-vote efforts, and
d) the inescapable fact that the Obama administration is desperate to be able to claim any success for Obamacare and look like less of a failure.

There Goes the Neighborhood on February 8, 2014 at 2:59 PM

HonestLib on February 8, 2014 at 1:59 PM

Except you leave out the part where government picks the winners and losers.

Why is that?

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on February 8, 2014 at 3:53 PM

HonestLib on February 8, 2014 at 1:59 PM

Except you leave out the part where government picks the winners and losers.

Why is that?

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on February 8, 2014 at 3:53 PM
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Good point. By transactions I mean the interplay of two groups in the economy. (1) One group is the collective individual transactions that happen billions of time a day and that top down government just cannot manage. It takes the economy/market place to adapt to that many variables. Individuals as a group, with their varied choices, decide the winner and loser without even understanding the economics behind their choices. It is impossible on a macro level for any entity or individual on a consistent basis to predict the outcome of all those transaction. Man I have learned that the hard and went from picking individual stocks to more of a mutual fund type guy…just as an example.

(2) Second group is organizations including, but not limited to, government at the federal, state and local level, corporation (C, S, and LLCs), partnerships, 501s 3,4,and 5 and so one. Some of these players can make decisions that the market adapts to and thus, can pick winners and losers from their direct input/involvement. Remember fairness is not a concept that affects the economy. The economy just adapts and is not based on morals or mores like us folks.

With that said, heck I ain’t sure I understand what I said…..I don’t worry about the macro. My one, three and five years business plan(s) is based on the micro level that I can somewhat control and valuate for risk and ROI. Don’t care about both groups on a macro level and just adapt to group two on both levels.

Let those that can, on either level, pick the winners and losers. I control what I can and try to adapt to what I can’t control.

I am terrible at explaining these things as my experience is on-the-job training (blue and white collar) and not higher education.

Del is going to give me another E+. Hey, I do the best I can with a room temperature I.Q.

HonestLib on February 8, 2014 at 4:45 PM

Hey, I do the best I can with a room temperature I.Q.

HonestLib on February 8, 2014 at 4:45 PM

“A man’s got to know his limitations”

From Dirty Harry-Magnum Force

ToddPA on February 8, 2014 at 7:44 PM

Funny thing, only the rich can afford gold plans under Obama, and therefore the criminals, who can easily search for what plan you got, can target you unto death for getting a gold plan.

They will have all your information, nothing except your actual credit card number is missing.

So suddenly store cards are taken out in your name, to get blocked, you also find you have chronic pain and were prescibed Morphine for it (or something less strong but still deeply desired), as well as a number of other medical conditions.

You try to get out of it, but they have your insurance information, so when they have a wreck suddenly they claim it was you and they had that broken arm fixed.

Yes Obama set up a way to make the rich bend over yet more.

OregonPolitician on February 9, 2014 at 4:45 AM

I read in the paper today that Target’s hack job was from a vendor. A heating and air conditioning vendor. That is scary.

Cindy Munford on February 8, 2014 at 2:19 PM

Here’s the story: http://gizmodo.com/last-months-massive-target-hack-was-the-heating-guys-1516926877/1518559880/@ashleyfeinberg

Even though I was caught up in that Target attack, I still shop there, haven taken security actions. But unlike our government, I don’t think that they are going to willingly hire those who have “repeat forgery offenses — one in 1982, then another in 1994, with a burglary in between. Another had two forgery convictions in 1988, in addition to a domestic-violence charge a decade later. Another committed welfare…” Are they?

ncinca on February 9, 2014 at 10:53 AM