Despite that statement, Cafero said, "It strikes me as odd that someone felt compelled to compile the data into a notebook and take it from the intake offices."
"This disturbing development highlights the concerns we raised three months ago during a hearing that we were afraid something like this might happen," Cafero said. We were told by Access Health CT overseers that our proposals for background checks and other safeguards were not needed, that the security situation was in hand. Clearly, this was not the case."
Cafero, who noted that Republicans were concerned about the potential for identity theft, said that GOP-proposed legislation that would have included mandating background checks for workers in the application processing office were rejected by Access Health CT and Democratic lawmakers.
In a prepared statement, Maximus said, the company "takes full responsibility for this incident, and we regret any concern that this has caused Access Health CT consumers. Protecting citizens' private information is our No. 1 priority, and we will be notifying all affected individuals to offer them free fraud prevention services to help ensure peace of mind."
"We are also reinforcing security and training policies and procedures to help ensure that this does not happen again."
Maximus also said the company conducts criminal background checks for prospective employees and also trains workers in handling personal data.
"The person involved in this incident had cleared all required background checks and training before beginning work in the Access Health CT customer contact center," Maximus said. "The team member violated company policy, which strictly prohibits the removal of personal data."
Connecticut's health-care marketplace is considered among the country's most successful. Under the health-care law, people can enroll in private health insurance plans or check their Medicaid eligibillty as part of the mandate that nearly all Americans obtain some form of health coverage this year or pay a fine.
In February, Counihan said Access Health CT would look to franchise its exchange platform to other states.
Maryland, whose own exchange floundered during the open-enrollment period, plans to use Connecticut's exchange system to replace its own.
—The Associated Press contributed to this report.