Enroll Alaska mistakenly releases hundreds of email addresses

Tegan Hanlon

Enroll Alaska mistakenly released about 300 email addresses Monday afternoon when an employee sent out a mass message about a healthcare.gov glitch without masking its recipients.

The private broker immediately recalled the email, but not before some complaints filtered in from unhappy clients, said Tyann Boling, chief operating officer with Enroll Alaska.

"People make mistakes," she said. "One of our employees did, they felt horrible about it, we recalled it."

Enroll Alaska was able to delete the email from inboxes where it remained unopened, she said. Boling said the email went to a random selection of clients who both had and had not signed up for insurance.

The email begins "Dear Valued Client" and goes on to say "Congratulation [sic] on your new health insurance policy!" The email instructs clients to directly contact the insurance carrier if the individual has not received a member ID card or billing statement.

Boling said Enroll Alaska sometimes sends out a "generic email" like this to individuals who have not enrolled.

"So this again was just an error," she said.

She said she doesn't believe the brokerage violated the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

"There was no personal information except email addresses," she said.

Enroll Alaska, an affiliate of Northrim Benefits Group, was launched to assist individuals with the health insurance marketplace. It receives commission from health insurance companies based on enrollment numbers.

The brokerage has signed up about 1,050 Alaskans for health insurance so far, Boling said.

Reach Tegan Hanlon at thanlon@adn.com or 257-4589.