Obamacare worry: Will personal info stay private?

Information only requested for tax-credit purposes

POSTED: 8:00 PM PDT September 27, 2013    UPDATED: 7:03 PM PDT September 28, 2013 
Tracking personal info in health care exchange
BEND, Ore. -

There are many misconceptions when it comes to the Affordable Care Act. One question for many: What happens with personal information after it is entered on the Cover Oregon Website?

While privacy is an understandable concern, it shouldn't be. One of the reasons is because much of the information you have to provide is old news.

"They're really only putting financial information in that the government already has," Patrick O'Keefe, owner of Cascade Insurance Center, said Friday.

The information includes stats like age and income. The reason the exchange asks for information like that is so it can generate tax credits that individuals or small businesses qualify for through the Affordable Care Act.

"They're going to have to enter the financial information to see how much of a credit they are eligible for," O'Keefe said.

That tax credit is not to be confused with a tax deduction. A tax credit lowers the amount of money you pay on your taxes, dollar for dollar, while deductions are tied to your income bracket.     

"That (tax credit) is money given to them from the government," O'Keefe said.

For those who are still concerned about what kinds of personal information they will have to give out to obtain health insurance, under Obamacare there are actually fewer questions than there are now.

"When you fill out an application, instead of the 57 health questions, there are no health questions," O'Keefe said.

The information you provide is not stored in the Cover Oregon Website. All the exchange does is show you providers and plans, based on your input.     

"Once you get through that enrollment, that shift is over, and it's between you and that insurance company," O'Keefe said.

After you choose a plan and provider, you have to pay for it, of course -- but the bill comes directly from the insurance provider for individual plans.