Hackers Tried to Break Into State Health Insurance Exchange - NBC Connecticut
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Hackers Tried to Break Into State Health Insurance Exchange

There have been five unsuccessful attempts to access data on Connecticut's health insurance exchange website, according to health exchange CEO, Kevin Counihan.



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    Hackers have tried to gain access the website where Connecticut residents have been signing up for Obamacare.

    On at least five occasions, hackers have tried to take over AccessHealthCT.com, including twice from outside the country, according to Kevin Counihan, CEO of the Connecticut exchange.

    "We actually had to get the NSA involved in those instances," Counihan said during a conference call with reporters on Wednesday.  "Each attempt was unsuccessful."

    The Connecticut exchange has a specialist on staff who oversees security for the site, Counihan said. The site's security has passed required testing. 

    "It's something we're very sensitive to," he said.

    News of the attempted hacks comes as Kathleen Sebelius, the president's top health official, faced tough questions about the security of the federal website, www.HealthCare.gov, during a hearing before a congressional committee in Washington D.C.

    A newly-publicized government memo raises questions about an apparent lack of security testing on the federal site, which is serving 36 other states, not including Connecticut.  Lawmakers are concerned that a lack of proper testing could leave customers vulnerable to hackers and identity theft.

    Sebelius testified that the federal site is secure.

    It's the latest concern for the troubled federal site, which has suffered serious problems staying online for customers to access.

    The problems are trickling down to Connecticut, where workers have to access a federal database to sign people up for the state plan. 

    Counihan said he is concerned that customers in Connecticut may wrongly believe the state's site is down, based on the federal problems, but it has never been completely down, he said.

     Local enrollment is behind schedule, but Counihan said he remains optimistic about reaching the  goal of getting 100,000 Connecticut residents enrolled by March.

    Access Health CT is opening storefronts to assist potential customers and increase enrollment, including one on Main Street in New Britain.

    John Coughlin stopped by Wednesday afternoon to pick up information for seniors he works with at the local senior center who are not yet eligible for Medicare coverage.

    "It was very good.  It was excellent.  They seem to really want to be able to help the people out," said Coughlin.

    During his conference call, Kevin Counihan also talked about the results of a recently completed customer satisfaction survey.

    He said the survey of 707 people who have enrolled, about 20-percent of those who have signed up, had a much higher overall customer satisfaction rate than expected.

    However, the survey shows some Connecticut customers complained about the cost of the plans and glitches they endured on the website.  Others called the enrollment process confusing.

    "I'm not saying that it was all roses.  Clearly people have some concerns," said Counihan.

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