Attorney General To Investigate Health Net Loss Of Almost 450,000 CT Consumers' Health, Personal Data

Statement by Connecticut AG Richard Blumenthal on the Health Net breach reported previously on this site and which affected members in four states:

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said today his office will investigate Health Net’s loss of almost 450,000 Connecticut residents’ health, personal and financial information and its six-month delay in informing consumers and the state of the breach, both possible violations of state and federal law.

Blumenthal said he also will demand Health Net provide consumers with comprehensive, long-term identity theft protection.

“I am outraged and appalled by Health Net’s huge loss of personal financial and medical information and its failure to swiftly inform authorities and consumers,” Blumenthal said. “This information vanished six months ago, but Health Net is only now informing authorities and consumers, an inexcusable and inexplicable delay. Health Net’s incomprehensible foot-dragging demonstrates shocking disregard for patients’ financial security, as well as loss of their highly sensitive and confidential personal health information.

“I will demand immediate answers and action, including at least two years of comprehensive identity theft protection for consumers. We will demand identity theft insurance and reimbursement for credit freezes as well as credit monitoring for at least two years for all 446,000 consumers.

“My investigation will seek to establish what happened and why the company kept its customers and the state in the dark for so long. The company’s failure to safeguard such sensitive information and inform consumers of its loss — leaving them naked to identity theft — may have violated state and federal laws. I will vigorously and aggressively seek damages, penalties and other appropriate remedies, if warranted.”

Health Net lost the information in May, but never informed consumers or the police and only told the Attorney General’s Office today.

The information was on a hard drive that disappeared from Health Net’s Shelton office. The hard drive included all data on 446,000 Connecticut patients, including health information, as well as financial and personal data such as social security numbers. The data was compressed, but not encrypted, although a specialized computer program is required to read it.

Blumenthal added, “Another day, another data breach, but companies still don’t get it: personal information is like cash and should be guarded with equal care. Casual and cavalier attitudes toward data protection and breaches are intolerable and must stop. I will fight to compel companies to fully safeguard personal information, quickly inform consumers of breaches and properly protect them when losses occur.”

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