Dayton satisfied with MNsure security, GOP lawmakers aren’t

MPR News photo

Gov. Mark Dayton said today that he still has great confidence in Minnesota’s new online health insurance exchange, even after the recent accidental release of some confidential information.

The Star Tribune reported that a MNsure employee sent an email to an insurance broker Thursday afternoon  that contained private information about hundreds of insurance agents.

Dayton told reporters that mistakes, glitches and human error are unavoidable in a large enterprise that’s just getting underway. He said the breach of privacy was a serious violation of protocol, but he believes MNsure leaders have learned from the error.

“They found it immediately, acted on it immediately and responsibly, corrected it, eliminated the threat of circulation,” Dayton said. “It doesn’t absolve them of the responsibility for the error, but the next best thing to not making a mistake is making a mistake, catching it right away and correcting it.”

Dayton said MNsure leaders have done an admirable job overall of putting together the exchange under severe time pressure. The system begins operation Oct. 1.

But two Republican lawmakers remain concerned about the adequacy of MNsure security. State Sens. Michelle Benson, R-Ham Lake, and Sean Nienow, R-Cambridge, sent a letter today to the DFL co-chairs of the MNsure Oversight Committee requesting another hearing before the end of the month.

“Minnesotans are now justifiably nervous about the security of the private data they release to the MNsure systems,” Benson and Nienow wrote. “We have an obligation to ensure data integrity and allay those fears.”

Dayton said naysayers will magnify whatever glitches occur with MNsure. He called that a “great disservice” to the organization and its success.

UPDATE

The Democrats who co-chair of the MNsure oversight panel — Sen. Tony Lourey, DFL-Kerrick, and Rep. Joe Atkins, DFL-Inver Grove Heights — wrote back to the two GOP lawmakers and said  they intend to call a hearing in response to the incident.

“We take this reported breach of personal data by MNsure very seriously,” Lourey and Atkins wrote.