Lisa Martinson was on the phone on and off for more than six hours Thursday, trying to sort out a security situation she never expected.
“I'm a pretty trusting person until I'm given a reason not to trust. And this is a pretty big reason not to trust,” Martinson said.
Martinson said about two weeks ago, she logged on to the federal health care website and created an account. After filling out a few pages, she left healthcare.gov, hoping to pick up her search for plans later.
Martinson said she misplaced her password, so she clicked the link on the site to reset it. Both of the online attempts were unsuccessful, so she called the customer service line. Again, an email with a possible password did not help her get back into her account.
Thursday morning, Martinson made it her goal to set up her family’s health care plans, so she called customer service for a second time.
Martinson is sure that without that call, she wouldn’t have known about a serious security issue on her account.
“She's looking up my information, and she said, 'Oh this is really strange. I've never seen anything like this before,'” Martinson said. “And she proceeded to tell me that there were three other people in three different states who were accessing my information.”
Martinson said she was told people from Georgia, Texas and Illinois listed themselves on her account. She said the customer service representatives had no idea how it happened.
“They just sounded as shocked as I was,” Martinson said.
Martinson said she’s most concerned with them accessing her personal information on the site, like her name, address and Social Security number.
“I feel more secure on Amazon after today than I do on this site,” Martinson said.
On top of that, Martinson said a customer service supervisor told her it would take two to five days to erase that information from the site, and Martinson wouldn’t be allowed to log on until things were sorted out by another department.
“This person can get on my account, but I can't find out what their name is,” Martinson said. “How wrong is that?”
Martinson said she now knows one unfamiliar name on her account, and she plans to include that identity in a police report.
She also said she’s diligently checking her credit to make sure her identity hasn’t been stolen. She contacted the Federal Trade Commission, and also made a call to the Social Security Administration, notifying them of the possible breech.
Earlier this week, CBS News reported healthcare.gov didn’t go through a full security check before going online, something Martinson wasn’t surprised to hear.
The Centers For Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) runs the health care marketplace and has been fielding consumer questions and concerns with the site.
CMS spokesperson Richard Olague said the federal agency is conducting an assessment to verify Martinson’s story.
In a statement, Olague said, “CMS takes protecting consumer privacy very seriously. We have contacted the consumer directly, are investigating the situation and will take the necessary steps.”
Martinson has already received an email from the Center For Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In that email, a representative said CMS made him aware of Martinson’s situation and he will assist her in deleting her healthcare.gov account.
Martinson said her family still doesn’t have the health care they need, but she will find another way to secure a plan.
“I just want to be able to follow the law, get the health care, and be on my way, but I can't,” Martinson said.