Health IT

CMS clears data-sharing hurdles for health insurance hub

oasis

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has reached agreements with key government agencies to assess information to confirm applicants' eligibility for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

The agreements, required under the Privacy Act of 1974, give CMS access to information from a range of sources that will run on the Data Services Hub – the routing system that transfers information between state and federal insurance marketplaces (formerly known as exchanges) and federal agencies. The Hub is designed to quickly provide information about insurance coverage to applicants by aggregating information on income, citizenship, military service and more.

Throughout August, CMS has been finalizing data matching agreements with the Social Security Administration, the Internal Revenue Service and the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security and Veterans Affairs. Each agreement authorizes CMS to use information from specific agency databases in the Hub as a piece of qualifying information.

For example, information from DHS will be used to verify the citizenship or immigration status of an applicant for health insurance. DOD and VA information will determine whether an applicant has eligibility under a military or VA program. IRS databases will supply information on income and family size.

While the authorization to use the data from other agencies is set, CMS still must conclude Interconnection Security Agreements with participating agencies. These are due to be finalized by Sept. 3. The agreements obligate the connecting agency to comply with CMS security standards, according to a CMS spokesman.

Security testing for the Hub is ongoing, but a final security authorization for the system is not due from the CMS CIO until Sept. 30, one day before the system launches. CMS has come under criticism because of the tight timetable, with many high-profile opponents of the health care law expressing concern that the Hub could go online without adequate security protections in place. Earlier this month, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) asked the Government Accountability Office to report on the interoperability of the systems and security of data moving across the Hub.

CMS indicates that the Hub is completed, with testing ongoing since October of last year, and that the agency is "on schedule to be at 100 percent at the beginning of open enrollment," a spokesperson said.

About the Author

Adam Mazmanian is executive editor of FCW.

Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy, health IT and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mr. Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian started his career as an arts reporter and critic, and has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, Architect magazine, and other publications. He was an editorial assistant and staff writer at the now-defunct New York Press and arts editor at the About.com online network in the 1990s, and was a weekly contributor of music and film reviews to the Washington Times from 2007 to 2014.

Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.


The Fed 100

Save the date for 28th annual Federal 100 Awards Gala.

Featured

  • computer network

    How Einstein changes the way government does business

    The Department of Commerce is revising its confidentiality agreement for statistical data survey respondents to reflect the fact that the Department of Homeland Security could see some of that data if it is captured by the Einstein system.

  • Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. Army photo by Monica King. Jan. 26, 2017.

    Mattis mulls consolidation in IT, cyber

    In a Feb. 17 memo, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told senior leadership to establish teams to look for duplication across the armed services in business operations, including in IT and cybersecurity.

  • Image from Shutterstock.com

    DHS vague on rules for election aid, say states

    State election officials had more questions than answers after a Department of Homeland Security presentation on the designation of election systems as critical U.S. infrastructure.

  • Org Chart Stock Art - Shutterstock

    How the hiring freeze targets millennials

    The government desperately needs younger talent to replace an aging workforce, and experts say that a freeze on hiring doesn't help.

  • Shutterstock image: healthcare digital interface.

    VA moves ahead with homegrown scheduling IT

    The Department of Veterans Affairs will test an internally developed scheduling module at primary care sites nationwide to see if it's ready to service the entire agency.

  • Shutterstock images (honglouwawa & 0beron): Bitcoin image overlay replaced with a dollar sign on a hardware circuit.

    MGT Act poised for a comeback

    After missing in the last Congress, drafters of a bill to encourage cloud adoption are looking for a new plan.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group