BlueCross completes analysis of data theft

BlueCross completes analysis of data theft

July 16th, 2010 by Emily Bregel in Health

Staff File Photo by Angela Lewis BlueCross BlueShield buildings atop Cameron Hill buildings.

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee has wrapped up its assessment of customer data that was stolen in an October 2009 robbery of its abandoned Eastgate Town Center office.

The state's largest health insurer has concluded that nearly 1 million BlueCross members were affected by the theft, the same number stated in an earlier report on the incident.

All of those affected will receive free Kroll ID Theft Smart protection for a year, which includes ID consultation and restoration services if a member's information was used fraudulently.

But at least so far, BlueCross has not heard that any information has been used illegally, spokeswoman Mary Thompson said.

BlueCross employees reported the theft of 57 hard drives on Oct. 5, 2009. The hard drives, which had been stolen the previous Friday, contained customer data that was not encrypted.

BlueCross has spent about $10 million contacting affected enrollees, investigating the theft and arranging for credit restoration services for affected members.

The Chattanooga Police Department still is conducting an investigation into the theft. Police are following up on leads but can't release any more information on the case, said Sgt. Jerri Weary, spokeswoman for Chattanooga police, on Thursday.

The insurer arranged additional protections for those 239,103 members at the highest risk for ID theft - those whose Social Security numbers were included in the stolen data. Those members, categorized as Tier 3, can get free credit monitoring service from Equifax and free ID protection from

LifeLock, as well as the Kroll service, for one year, Ms. Thompson said.

AT-RISK MEMBERS

To take advantage of discounted credit monitoring, call 1-888-422-2786 or e-mail privacy_questions_gm@bcbst.com.

About 26,000 of the Tier 3 members already have signed up for the free credit monitoring service, and 2,700 have opted for the LifeLock ID protection.

The remaining members, categorized as Tier 2 and 1, were less exposed, with only data such as their dates of birth, diagnostic information and BlueCross member IDs stolen. Those members also get the Kroll's service for free and can receive discounts on Equifax credit monitoring service and LifeLock ID protection.

About 250 lower-tier members have taken advantage of the discounts, Ms. Thompson said.