Anthem-Related Data Breach Exposes PHI of 18,500 Members | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology Skip to content Skip to navigation

Anthem-Related Data Breach Exposes PHI of 18,500 Members

August 2, 2017
by Rajiv Leventhal
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Anthem reported a data breach last week—stemming from a third-party consulting company the health insurer uses—which resulted in the exposure of the personal health information of more than 18,000 Anthem Medicare enrollees.

The Indianapolis-based payer reported the breach to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on July 24, and then news media reports picked up the story in the coming days. According to a CNBC report, “Anthem says it was contacted about the breach by the consulting firm LaunchPoint Ventures on June 14. LaunchPoint discovered two months earlier that one of its employees had been involved in involved in a case of identity theft, and further investigation discovered that the worker had ‘emailed a file with information about Anthem companies' members to his personal email address,’ a year ago.”

Overall, some 18,500 Anthem Medicare members' Social Security and Medicare identification data may have been exposed, according to reports, as well as a July 24 blog post from Anthem. The blog post also noted that LaunchPoint—which handles insurance coordination services for Anthem companies and subsidiaries—terminated the employee, hired a forensic expert to investigate, and is working with law enforcement. The employee is in prison and is under investigation by law enforcement for matters unrelated to the e-mailed Anthem file, according to officials related to the incident.

In 2015, Anthem suffered a far more severe data breach that that affected 78 million people. In June, the health insurer agreed to a proposed $115 million settlement to resolve the multidistrict class action litigation relating to that cyber attack.  

When Anthem discovered that cyber attack in 2015, the company offered two years of credit monitoring and identity protection services to all individuals whose data may have been impacted. For this latest incident, LaunchPoint is notifying members and offering information on how to better protect against potential identity theft and fraud. Enrollees will also have access to two years of credit monitoring and identity theft restoration services with AllClear ID at no cost.

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