CT AG wants Health Net to do more for consumers affected by breach

Attorney General George Jepsen has asked Health Net for identity theft and credit protections for nearly 25,000 Connecticut residents because their medical and personal information may have been compromised in a nationwide data breach in early February.

The health care company has acknowledged that nine unaccounted server drives in its Rancho Cordova, Calif. operations, contained protected health information and personal information for 24,599 Connecticut residents, including 18,279 Medicare subscribers and 700 Medicaid subscribers and 5,620 commercial subscribers.

Letters are going out, beginning today, to the Connecticut customers, Health Net told Jepsen.

“Health insurance companies have access to very sensitive and personal information. They have a duty to protect that information from unlawful disclosure,” Jepsen said Wednesday. “I am asking the company to provide credit monitoring services for two years, identity theft insurance and security freeze reimbursements for the customers affected.”

In his letter to the company’s attorneys, Jepsen also requested detailed information about the status of the data breach, what steps the company has taken to protect affected individuals and what procedures have been adopted to prevent any other breaches of this kind.

Assistant Attorney General Stephen J. Courtney is assisting Jepsen in this investigation.

In July, Connecticut reached a settlement with Health Net of the Northeast, Inc., over a computer disk drive lost in May, 2009 that contained protected health and other private information on more than 500,000 Connecticut citizens and 1.5 million consumers nationwide. The missing disk drive contained names, addresses, Social Security numbers, protected health information and financial information.

The agreement, which also involved Health Net of Connecticut Inc., and parent companies UnitedHealth Group Inc. and Oxford Health Plans, resolved allegations that Health Net violated the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), which state attorneys general are authorized to enforce, as well as state privacy protections. It resulted in a $250,000 payment to the state, a comprehensive Corrective Action Plan to insure future compliance with HIPAA, and crediting monitoring protections for affected customers.

Source: Attorney General George Jepsen

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