Business & Tech

Equifax holds contract to verify data of Obamacare recipients

epa06191113 A general view of the Equifax building in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, 07 September 2017. According to media reports on 07 September 2017, the company disclosed that a data breach, discovered in July 2017, may have impacted as many as 143 million consumers in the United States. Equifax is one of the three main organizations in the US that calculates credit scores and has access to personal information including names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, some driver's license and credit card numbers. EPA/RHONA WISE
Rhona Wise/European Pressphoto Agency/File

WASHINGTON — Equifax Inc., which said last week it suffered a breach that exposed the personal data of 143 million Americans, holds a contract to check incomes and other data of people who bought health insurance in the Obamacare markets.

The credit data firm has a $329 million, five-year government contract which ends in March to verify the incomes of people purchasing coverage through the health exchanges. The Affordable Care Act provides subsidies to help people afford health insurance depending on their income levels.

Government officials that administer the Obamacare program were informed the data wasn’t part of the breach and is continuing to monitor the situation, an HHS spokesperson said. The Equifax breach affected almost half the US population. Equifax didn’t return questions seeking comment on Monday.

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US government contract data shows the credit bureau is the only contractor doing income-verification work related to the Affordable Care Act. About $104 million of the contract has been paid out, according to the contracting data. The full total might not be paid because of overestimates of how many people would sign up for plans under the law.

The contract, the company’s largest with the US government, is being fulfilled by its Equifax Workforce Solutions unit.