Enrollment privacy bill signed

California’s Obamacare customers who don’t complete their application forms won’t be hearing from insurance agents in the future, as the governor signed a bill that bars sharing of their data with private companies.

inspector-glassSponsor state Sen. Joel Anderson’s statement about the signing said: “Before this bill, Covered California shared consumers’ personal information with private companies without permission due to a security loophole, leading to thousands of Californians receiving calls from insurance telemarketers.”

Senate Bill 514 cleared the Senate and Assembly without a single no vote. Gov. Jerry Brown signed the bill into law Aug. 19.

The bill came with an “urgency clause” that makes it effective Oct. 1.

Covered California has acknowledged giving personal information of consumers who started but did not complete enrollment forms to insurance agents who were affiliated with four major insurance companies that were coordinating sign-up activities several years ago. After protests, Covered California halted the practice of giving personal information to external insurance sellers.

As of last summer, Covered California policy was to give that information only to internal representatives who are not insurance agents.

Sen. Anderson said after the bill’s signing: “The right to privacy is among the most important rights we enjoy as Americans, making it important to close the loophole that allowed for private information to be given without permission.”

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