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75 Percent of Hospitals and Clinics Are Worried about HealthCare.gov Hacks

Jon Elswick/AP

A major concern about Obamacare is that the online swap of patient information between providers and the federal government's data hub will jeopardize consumers' privacy and security, according to a new study by the Ponemon Institute.

As far as cyber threats that affect patients, "the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is seen as a contributing factor because of the documented insecure websites, databases and health information exchanges that are highly vulnerable to insider and outsider threats,” state the findings of the report released on Wednesday.  

Health and Human Services officials have maintained, ever since registration for Obamacare plans launched on Jan. 1, that HealthCare.gov is safe and that there have not been any breaches detected. 

About 70 percent of hospitals and clinics said they believe the Affordable Care Act, in general, increases the risk of compromising patient data.

The factors driving their fears: insecure online exchanges (75 percent); unprotected databases (65 percent); and the website registration process (63 percent). 

The rate of enrollment in Obamacare health insurance plans dipped in February, with about 943,000 people signing up for plans compared with about 1.1 million enrollees in January, HHS officials said on Tuesday. About 4.2 million people have enrolled, well below the government’s initial projection of 7 million plan participants by the time open enrollment closes on March 31.

The Ponemon report on patient privacy and data security, which was sponsored by ID Experts but independently conducted, surveyed 91 hospitals and clinics.

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