Department Advises Anthem Consumers to Monitor Medical Statements Following Data Breach
HARTFORD, February 6 -- The Department of Consumer Protection has additional suggestions for Anthem customers concerned about protecting themselves in the wake of the company’s data breach this week.
“While more information about the scope and depth of the data loss will become available in time, it’s important that consumers understand what they need to look for,” Consumer Protection Commissioner Jonathan A. Harris said today. “The breach of medical and health insurance information requires Anthem customers to watch not only their financial accounts, but health care statements as well.”
In September 2014, Reuters reported that medical information is “worth 10 times more than credit card number[s] on the black market,” and that cyber- criminals are increasingly targeting the $3 trillion U.S. healthcare industry.
Anthem has reported that customer information going back at least five years may be part of the data breach.
What this means to consumers
Theft of medical record information can affect you in a number of ways. A thief may use your name or health insurance numbers to see a doctor, get prescription drugs, file claims with your insurance provider, or get other care. If a thief’s health information is mixed with yours, your own medical treatment, insurance and payment records, and credit report could be affected.
What to watch for
Starting now, customers should check not only their credit reports and financial statements carefully, but also medical and insurance statements, including the Explanation of Benefits statements; they will show warning signs of misuse.
Review the name of the provider, the date of service, and the service provided. Do the claims paid match the care you received? If you see a mistake, contact your Anthem immediately and report the problem. You also may want to follow these steps from the Federal Trade Commission -- http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0171-medical-identity-theft#Correcting
Other warning signs:
- a bill for medical services you didn’t receive or a call from a debt collector about a medical debt you don’t owe
- medical collection notices on your credit report that you don’t recognize
- a notice from your health plan saying you reached your benefit limit
- a denial of insurance because your medical records show a condition you don’t have
In the wake of this and any data breach, don’t get hooked by a “phishing” scheme. Delete email or text messages that ask you to confirm or provide personal information. The sender may even try to prove they are legitimate by including some personal information about you in their message. Chances are this information was stolen as part of a data breach. Legitimate companies DO NOT ask for sensitive personal data via email or text.
For more information from the Department of Consumer Protection, visit www.ct.gov/AnthemAdvice. Suspicious activity should be reported to the Office of the Attorney General's Privacy Task Force by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 860-808-5318. Anthem has a designated website for consumers with immediate questions about the breach at: http://www.anthemfacts.com/.
Media Contact: Claudette Carveth