Insurers that need to share data with the federal government as a part of the Affordable Care Act — better known as Obamacare — can now store that information with Amazon Web Services, according to a report by CNBC.
It’s good news for Amazon, but the decision surprised some insurance companies, which had already purchased their own server equipment in order to comply with the regulations.
According to the report, those in-house servers could cost tens of thousands of dollars, though insurers will still be able to use any equipment that they purchased to comply with the regulations in question.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has inked a deal with the Seattle-based company to provide storage for records at a cost of between $6,000 and $24,000 a year per insurer, depending on the size of a plan.
The move is frustrating to insurers and other entities that wanted to start using Amazon’s cloud earlier, though. Some companies interviewed by CNBC said that they had been pushing for a cloud solution for the past six months, but were met with silence from the CMS.
It’s not clear how many insurers will take CMS up on its offer. While AWS has a number of key security certifications, some security-conscious companies would prefer to keep the sensitive data they need to hand over to the feds in-house, especially as more companies have suffered data breaches in recent years.
The move is a another positive sign for AWS’s capabilities as a tool for governments. Amazon has been working hard in recent years to make its cloud service an attractive option for government agencies and companies that need to interface with those bodies – including a special region designed to meet certain government security needs. Earlier this year, AWS received a key certification from the U.S. Department of Defense saying that the service provided sufficient security protections under the DoD’s cloud security model.
Insurers need to send data to the CMS as a part of an Affordable Care Act p[rogram designed to compensate insurance companies bearing more risk under the Affordable Care Act.
A representative for Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment on this post.