Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Double Cross

Certainly you can trust your insurance carrier to keep your medical history secret, right? I mean, we have all these privacy laws that come with heavy penalties for breaching a confidence.

So what can happen when your medical records fall into the wrong hands?

It could affect your ability to get a job, a promotion or even a loan. There is also the possibility you could be a victim of medical identity theft.

So what happens when your carrier sends information on your medical health, complete with your Social Security number, to 202,000 people who are not you and have no right to your information?

The error occurred statewide and affected both employer and individual health benefit plans. The company has many state employees and schoolteachers as members, as well as large and small corporate customers. Blue Cross declined to identify large employers that it serves.

This may not be the only breach.

A thick stack of paperwork from Blue Cross of Georgia arrived at the Portland home of a KOIN News 6 employee. Many national and international corporations are based in Georgia, some of which have branches in Oregon, but provide insurance from Georgia-based insurance companies.

It is possible the two are related, but we cannot tell at this point.

Oxendine said he ordered the company to provide free credit monitoring for affected patients for one year. Blue Cross also must give written notice to policyholders whose names were on the EOBs and compile a list of names of those who erroneously received the forms.

While a noble gesture, I am not sure the credit bureau's track medical identity theft.
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