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Anthem breach estimate jumps to 667,866

By DAVE SOLOMON
New Hampshire Union Leader

February 24. 2015 6:35PM


MANCHESTER — Anthem has broadened its estimate of New Hampshire residents who may be at risk from the recent hack into the health insurance company’s database, and determined that 667,866 current or former customers could be affected, dating back to 2004.

The number, equal to half the state’s population of 1.3 million, now includes people who are insured by independent Blue Cross Blue Shield plans from other states who reside in New Hampshire, or who were at some point in New Hampshire and sought care here.

When news of the hack first broke earlier in the month, Anthem officials in New Hampshire estimated the number of potential victims at 290,000, the approximate number of customers and employees in the state. The number has now grown to include more past customers and non-Anthem customers.

“The big take away for people here is if you are a current Anthem member, or were once a member in the last 10 years, enroll in the identity protection services being provided to you free,” said company spokesman Colin Manning.

Anthem discovered the sophisticated external cyber attack on Jan. 29. Hackers gained access to Anthem’s IT system and obtained personal information from Anthem customers, as well as information from consumers covered by independent Blue Cross Blue Shield plans working with Anthem.

The personal information stolen includes member names, member health ID numbers, dates of birth, social security numbers, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses and employment information, including income data.

The investigation so far shows no credit card information, banking information or confidential health information was taken.

The country’s second largest health insurer now estimates that 78.8 million people across the country had their information accessed when hackers broke into its database, according to Anthem spokeswoman Kristin Binns. Included in that number are between 8.8 million and 18.8 million customers of independent “Blue” plans.

Anthem does not have an exact count on how many customers had records that were not just “seen” by the hackers but stolen. The number of stolen records is estimated to be in the tens of millions, Binns said.

Anthem runs Blue Cross Blue Shield healthcare plans in 14 states. Other Blue Cross Blue Shield plans in states such as Texas and Florida are run independently. Customers of those independent plans who sought medical services during the last 10 years in the states where Anthem holds the license could have been included in the database that was breached.

Anthem will be sending out an email in the coming weeks with a link to free identity protection services provided by a third-party vendor, AllClear ID. Anyone who wants to register sooner should visit AnthemFacts.com or call 877-263-7995.

The free identity protection services offered by Anthem include features such as identity theft repair assistance.

“If any member experiences fraud, an investigator will do the work to recover financial losses, restore the member’s credit, and ensure the member’s identity is returned to its proper condition. This assistance will cover any fraud that has occurred since the incident first began,” said Manning.

Members can also enroll in credit monitoring, which alerts consumers when banks and creditors use their identity to open new credit accounts. Child-specific identity protection services are also being offered to any members with children insured through their Anthem plan.

The company is also offering identity theft monitoring, fraud detection and $1 million in identity theft insurance for members who register.

“For members who enroll, data such as credit card numbers, social security numbers and emails will be cross-referenced against databases maintained by top security researchers that contain stolen and compromised individual data, in order to look for any indication that the member’s data has been compromised,” said Manning.

Individuals who register and provide contact information will receive an alert when there is a notification from a credit bureau, or when identity theft monitoring suggests that the individual’s identity has been compromised.

For more information, visit Anthemfacts.com.

dsolomon@unionleader.com


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