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People sign up for health insurance information at a Covered California event which marks the opening of the state People sign up for health insurance information at a Covered California event which marks the opening of the state's Affordable Healthcare Act, commonly known as Obamacare, health insurance marketplace in Los Angeles, California, October 1, 2013. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson  

California Woman Claims Obamacare Application Sparked Harassment

A California woman claims she was harassed by health insurers after filling out an application for coverage on the state’s Obamacare exchange website, according to a local ABC station.

Shante Luster submitted her application, complete with her cell phone number, and beginning just ten minutes later, Luster said she was barraged with 87 phone calls the next several hours.

“Within three hours, I had 87 different phone calls from multiple sources, two to four minutes apart,” Luster told ABC outlet KRCR News.

Luster manages Lim’s Pharmacy in Redding, California, and told KRCR that she deals with health insurance for the company’s employees and is familiar with the process.

“I will definitely be advising our employees here not to use the Covered California website,” Luster told KRCR. “It’s inundating and intimidating.”

A spokesman for the Obamacare exchange, James Scaleri, told KRCR that Covered California does not give out phone numbers or e-mail addresses, and suggested that Luster simply entered her information on the wrong website. Luster denied the accusation.

Margaret Beck, an insurance agent certified with the exchange, confirmed that California’s Obamacare exchange doesn’t give out individual contact information on those who have submitted applications — but the exchange does give out information on small businesses that are interested in coverage.

“The small group side of it, the SHOP program, they will occasionally give us leads, saying, ‘Oh, this small business wants insurance,’” Beck told KRCR. “And I think they’ll usually give the guy two or three names.”

Luster said she had applied for coverage as an individual, however, not through the state’s flailing SHOP exchange for small businesses.

It’s not clear what happened with Luster’s personal information. Covered California’s spokesman made no mention of any security problems, but critics of Obamacare exchanges nationwide have warned that the centralized health exchanges may be a target for hackers.

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