Calif. health exchange shares data without consent

LOS ANGELES (AP) - The California health exchange is giving the names of tens of thousands of consumers to insurance agents without their knowledge.
   
The Los Angeles Times reported Saturday that the state provided names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses to insurance agents.
   
Those consumers had researched coverage online but didn't complete an application and didn't ask to be contacted.
   
Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California, says the information was shared to ease the process for consumers. The exchange was set up in response to the federal Affordable Care Act.
   
It has been struggling with a surge in applications ahead of a Dec. 23 deadline to have insurance in place by Jan. 1.
   
Nearly 80,000 people have signed up in private health plans and an additional 140,000 people qualified for the state's Medicaid program through Covered California.