Calif. AG Harris settles with Anthem Blue Cross

Bryan Cohen Oct. 2, 2012, 1:10pm


SAN FRANCISCO (Legal Newsline) - California Attorney General Kamala Harris announced a settlement on Monday with one of the largest health insurers in the state to resolve allegations that the company failed to protect its members' personal information.

Harris filed the lawsuit, along with the settlement, in Los Angeles Superior Court. The lawsuit alleges that Blue Cross of California, doing business as Anthem Blue Cross, printed social security numbers on letters it mailed to more than 33,000 of its Medicare Part D and Medicare Supplement subscribers between April 2011 and March 2012. Anthem's conduct allegedly violated a California law restricting the disclosure of social security numbers.

"Our office is committed to protecting the privacy of Californians," Harris said. "This settlement requires the company to make significant improvements to its data security procedures to ensure this type of error does not happen again."

After sending the numbers, Anthem sent a letter to all affected members whose social security numbers were visible through the mailed envelope. The letter notified the consumers of the breach and offered them each one free year of credit monitoring services.

Under the terms of the settlement, Anthem must implement new technical safeguards for its system of managing data, restrict employee access to the social security numbers of members, provide enhanced data security training for all employees and pay $150,000.

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