Tag Archives: MedicAid

Breach Brief – Newkirk Solutions, Bon Secours

canstockphoto24985079The largest data breach of 2016 so far has hit a data server operated by Albany, N.Y. based Newkirk Products. Newkirk Products is a third-party vendor providing health insurance ID cards for the health care industry. According to Newkirk the breach was discovered on July 6th but actually occured on May 21st. Newkirk shut down the affected server and is working with forensic investigators to analyze the extent of the breach.

Data belonging to over 3.3 million people across the U.S including 277,000 Blue Cross and Blue Shield customers in North Carolina have been compromised.

According to Newkirk the server did not contain the most sensitive customer information like Social Security numbers, banking or credit card information, medical information or insurance claims. However information found on Blue Cross’s Medicare ID cards includes customer name, mailing address, type of plan, and member and group ID number maybe compromised. In a press release dated August 5th, Newkirk admitted hackers has gained unauthorized access to a server containing names, mailing addresses, plan types, member and group ID numbers, dependent names, primary care providers, dates of birth, premium invoice information, and Medicaid ID numbers. 

Customers affected by the breach will receive letters from Newkirk explaining the attack and offering two years of free identity pretection and restoration service. Blue Cross is instructing customers to check their accounts for suspicious activity. These customers are insured by a dozen organizations, including Blue Cross organizations in Kansas City as well as western and northeastern New York.

Currently there is no evidence that any of the personal information obtained in the attack has been misused. However Newkirk is urging affected customers to monitor their account statements and medical bills for suspicious activity.

For additional information customers are advised to call 855-303-9773 or go to http://newkirkproductsfacts.com.

 

Bon Secours

logo-bon-secoursBon Secours Health Systems of Richmond, VA is notifying approximately 655,000 of its patients that their information may have been compromised during an incident with a contractor in April. 

R-C Healthcare Management, a company doing work for Bon Secours accidently left files containing patient information accessible via the Internet while attempting to adjust their network settings from April 18th to April 21st. Bon Secours staff members discovered the error on June 14th  and they immediately notified R-C Healthcare to secure the files.

Information possibly compromised in the exposure include files that may have included patient name, health insurer’s name, health insurance identification number, social security number and limited clinical information.

A spokesperson for Bon Secours says 435,000 patients were affected in Virginia and an uknown number in South Carolina and Kentucky.

R-C Healthcare CEO said in a statement, “Upon learning of the incident R-C promptly hired a highly regarded outside forensic investigator. The investigator confirmed the incident has been fully remediated. All R-C customers who might be affected have been notified of the situation and its resolution. “

Bon Secours custmers affected by the data exposure have been sent a letter notifying them of the breach. Any patients with concerns or questions may call toll free at 1-888-522-8917, 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. EST, Monday-Friday.

See also: The real reason hackers want your medical records.

 

 

 

 

App of the Week – Blink Health

BlinkThe greatest travesty of living in America is the cost of health care.  Far too many people simply suffer because that can’t afford to see a doctor or pay for medication.

Even with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) many black people are still uninsured. According to the Pew Charitable Trusts  over half of  all African-Americans, 55 percent,  live in the 23 states that have not expanded Medicaid eligibility under the ACA. The numbers are not much better for other groups. The Urban Institute reports that by comparison, 42 percent of whites, 38 percent of Latinos and 23 percent of Asians live in states that have not expanded to the ACA standards.

Even worse in non-expansion states a disproportionate number of African-Americans fail to qualify even for the narrower Medicaid program in place now. The result is that far too many black people have little or no medical or prescription coverage.

 That is why Blink Health is the App of the Week.

According to Blink Health as much as 30 percent of all medications are left on the pharmacy counter for one simple reason; the patient can’t afford them.

Blink Health co-founder and chief operating officer Matt Chaiken says people wrongly assume that if they have insurance they also have prescription coverage.  “There’s a common misconception in this country. Patients believe that, because they’re covered by insurance, they’re paying the lowest price at the pharmacy counter. This is not the case.”

Blink says it can offer lower prices on more than 15,000 mostly generic medications for less than $10. These price reductions are made possible because of the purchasing power of the combined membership of Blink Health and partner company MedImpact. The list of pharmacy chains that accept Blink Health includes Walmart, CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreens, Target, and many others

The BlinkHealth app allows the user to enter the name of their medication, dosage and quantity and the app will return a price quote. The user can pay for the prescription online. After the prescription has been paid for the app issues a proof of purchase known as a  “Blink Card” directly to the users phone. The user can then go to the pharmacy with their prescription and show their Blink Card. As long as they have a valid prescription from a physician the prescription will be filled. Nothing is paid at the pharmacy.

BlinkHealth is free and available for both and Apple and Android devices.

ALERT! Anthem Insurance Hacked ALERT!

Anthem Blue Cross Blue ShieldAnthem Health Insurance formerly known as WellPoint and owners of the famed BlueCross BlueShield service reported today that hackers had penetrated its computer network gaining access to a treasure trove of customer and employee information including that of company CEO Joseph Swedish.

Anthem is the nation’s second-largest health insurer covering nearly 37 million people. The company said it was contacting customers impacted by the “very sophisticated” cyberattack and was working to figure out how many of its customer are at risk due to the hack.

Anthem reported that the hackers gained access to customer’s names, birth dates, email addresses, employment details, Social Security numbers, income information and street addresses of people who are currently covered or have been covered in the past.

The Indianapolis-based insurer said credit card information was not lost and it has no evidence that medical information, insurance claims or test results were targeted or obtained.

The insurer admits that all of its product lines were affected including Anthem Blue Cross, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia, Empire Blue Cross and Blue Shield and Amerigroup. 

Anthem sells mainly private individual and group health insurance and dental and vision coverage. It also sells plans on the public insurance exchange and Medicare and Medicaid. 

Anthem is working with FBI to investigate the attack and the company has hired Internet security company Mandiant to bolster its network defenses. The insurer will provide free credit monitoring and identity protection services.

The FBI urged Anthem customers contacted by the insurer to report suspected instances of identity theft.

Breaking It Down

Another sophisticated attack with millions of identities lost. There are a few things you need to pay careful attention to in this news story because I smell what the bull left in the yard.

First of all a company of this size has the methods and the budget to protect customer information from any attack no matter how sophisticated. I’m betting it was some failure on their part that this happened and if you watch the news in the next few weeks it will come out. I promise you that!

Second, who cares if the CEO’s information was lost?  Thirty-seven million people are at risk from this attack and Anthem thinks it makes a difference that the CEO is one of them. Tell him I said welcome to the club! And who gives a damn if no insurance records or insurance claim information or credit card information were compromised? If I read the reports right what was lost included customer’s names, birth dates, email addresses, employment details, Social Security numbers, income information and street addresses of people who are currently covered or have ever been covered was stolen! So what else does the hacker need? The person or persons took exactly what they wanted and has no need for the rest of that crap!

Finally, when this type of attack is revealed then the FBI should be looking at the company as being criminally negligent in the protection of your data. Why? Because as the customer who lost this sensitive information, you can’t do a damn thing to them! Let me make sure you understand this. The courts have ruled you can’t sue for any compensation for your lost information unless you can prove some harm came to you as a result of the loss. So you need to go through the hell of finding out someone stole your identity, bought a house and car, took a vacation to Fiji and stuck you with the bill. Then you can get a lawyer and file a lawsuit and go up against a major corporation with a multi-million dollar legal budget to fight you. I told you, I smell what the bull left in the yard!