Behind-the-scenes government system keeps data 'indefinitely' on those seeking health coverage

Economic Indicators Associated Press

A government data warehouse stores information forever on millions of consumers seeking coverage under President Barack Obama's health care law.

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That's raising concerns about privacy at a time when major breaches have become common.

The system — known as MIDAS — is described on a federal website as the "perpetual central repository" for Affordable Care Act information.

A government privacy assessment lists the kinds of information stored, including names, Social Security numbers, birthdates, addresses, phone numbers, passport numbers and employment status.

The document says the information is stored "indefinitely."

The government says the behind-the-scenes system is vital to the smooth operation of health insurance markets.

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But privacy experts say the more data that's kept, the greater the damage a hacker can do.