premera data breach

Massive data breach at health care insurer Premera

Premera Blue Cross, a large health insurance company with millions of U.S. patients, just admitted that eleven million of its customer records may have been exposed in a massive data breach. This data breach was discovered around the same time that Anthem, another Blue Cross healthcare company, notified the FBI of a massive data breach.

In a statement published on its website, Premera acknowledged the broad scope of the breach and that Social Security numbers and other personal data had been compromised. Premera does not store members’ credit card information. However, in some cases, bank account information may have been exposed.

Premera is offering breached customers a free two-year membership in credit monitoring and identity theft protection services from Experian’s ProtectMyID. The membership entails monitoring of all three bureaus’ credit reports for new inquires, new account openings and personal information changes. You don’t need a letter from Premera to sign up, and can enroll for free until September 20, 2015.

In a Q&A also published on its site, Premera detailed the exposed data:

The information that may have been accessed could include your name, address, email address, telephone number, date of birth, Social Security number, member identification number, medical claims information and in some cases, bank account information.

Premera also detailed which of its health plans were affected:

This incident affected Premera Blue Cross, Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alaska, and our affiliate brands Vivacity and Connexion Insurance Solutions, Inc.

Premera has started mailing letters to members who had their information stored in the hacked database:

If you believe that you were affected by this incident but have not received a letter by April 20, we encourage you to contact our dedicated call center on 1-800-768-5817.

What to do if you’re among the millions of victims?

You should take common sense steps to protect yourself. The exposed personally identifiable information is the sort of data used in security questions for online accounts. You should therefore, check your payment and bank account activity for suspicious charges, check your mail for signs of new account openings, and be on the lookout for phishing emails or even phone calls that attempt to capture additional information that can be used for identity theft.

If you’re not protected by credit monitoring and identity protection services, you should take advantage of the free identity theft protection that Premera is offering affected members here.

The BillGuard + ProtectMyID partnership:

BillGuard’s partnership with Experian’s ProtectMyID enables you to receive their identity theft protection alerts directly in BillGuard. Learn how to activate your free ProtectMyID identity theft protection in BillGuard on iPhone here or BillGuard on Android here:

Get personalized data breach alerts when a business you’ve shopped at has been breached.