Real Time Health Quotes leak affected health insurance applicants
So it appears I missed a third-party vendor/business associate leak that affected at least two covered entities and possibly more. Great thanks to Humana for sending along the vendor’s press release when I inquired about a breach report Humana had made to HHS as affecting 5,764 members or potential members. It turns out that the breach was at Real Time Health Quotes, and it involved a data leak discovered by researchers.
Of note, Florida Blue (BCBSFL.com) was also impacted by this breach, even though Florida Blue has no relationship with RTHQ and had no idea how or why RTHQ was in possession of data from 939 insurance applicants involving them. In a notification they made on October 27, Florida Blue wrote:
Florida Blue does not have a relationship with RTHQ. We are taking additional steps to determine how RTHQ acquired this application information and why RTHQ stored this information on an unsecured server.
Excellent questions, and kudos to Florida Blue for attempting to assist those affected by the breach even though RTHQ is not their vendor and Florida Blue apparently had no responsibility at all for the breach.
DataBreaches.net has reached out to Florida Blue to see if there is any update to their part of the incident and will update this post if more information becomes available. In the meantime, here is RTHQ’s press release, below. Note that it apparently took them more 60 days to disclose the breach following discovery.
Real Time Health Quotes Notifying Area Residents of Privacy Breach
TAMPA, Fla. – November 17, 2017 – On Sept. 1, 2017, Real Time Health Quotes became aware that a security researcher found information that was not properly secured on a web-based storage system. This data was owned and maintained by Real Time Health Quotes (RTHQ), an insurance broker/agency that sells medical, dental and vision plans for various health insurance companies.
The individuals impacted by this event applied for insurance through RTHQ. To the knowledge of RTHQ, the information has not been accessed by anyone other than the security researcher. RTHQ confirmed that the information was no longer available on the storage site as of Sept. 1, 2017.
The unsecured information included insurance applications and related correspondence between 2009 and 2017, which may have included name, Social Security number (SSN), financial information such as credit card account number, banking account and/or routing number, medical information, product information and/or deductible amounts.
This was an isolated incident. The storage site where this information was maintained was not generally available for viewing on the web without specific technical skills and security tools.
Notification letters have been sent to area residents who were impacted by this event. In addition, RTHQ has partnered with Equifax(r) to provide its Credit WatchTM Gold with 3-in-1 Monitoring identity theft protection product to these individuals for one year at no charge. Anyone with questions about this event and how to protect themselves may call RTHQ at 1-800-985-9449.