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Lawmakers meet to probe MNsure security

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A panel of lawmakers who are overseeing the launch Minnesota's new health insurance exchange, called MNsure, have scheduled a meeting at the state Capitol on Tuesday to review a recent security breach.

The meeting was called after a MNsure employee earlier this month mistakenly emailed a document to an independent Apple Valley insurance broker that included private data, including Social Security numbers, of about 1,600 insurance agents. The worker's actions were against MNsure policy, its leaders say, and the employee is no longer with MNsure.

MNsure officials promptly acknowledged the mistake, and the data were then properly deleted, but the breach raised red flags and prompted questions about whether MNsure was ready for launch.

MNsure – designed to be an online marketplace where Minnesotans can comparison shop for health care plans – is scheduled to open for enrollment Oct. 1, and officials have been pushing to make sure it is ready. Legislative Auditor Jim Nobles has been investigating the breach.

Meanwhile, the state agency responsible for protecting Minnesotans’ private data on Friday said citizens “should trust the system,” the Star Tribune reported.

“We have the latest tools and technology that we can bake into every level of the system,” Carolyn Parnell, commissioner of the state’s information security department, known as MN.IT, told the Star Tribune. “Even when the [MNsure] system is launched, security never ends.”

Officials expect as many as 1 million Minnesotans will use MNsure. The exchange is primarily for people who are uninsured, small-business owners and consumers enrolled in public plans like MinnesotaCare and Medical Assistance.

MNsure officials are trying to drum up interest in the new online marketplace. The state has been advertising MNsure as part of a marketing campaign. A call center established to answer consumer questions launched earlier this month.

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