October 23, 2012 > Settlement with Anthem Blue Cross
Settlement with Anthem Blue Cross
Submitted By the Office of the state Attorney General
Attorney General Kamala D. Harris has announced a settlement with one of California's largest health insurers over allegations the company failed to protect the personal information of its members.
The lawsuit, which was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on October 1, 2012, along with the settlement, alleges that Blue Cross of California, which does business under the trade name Anthem Blue Cross, printed Social Security numbers on letters mailed to more than 33,000 of its Medicare Supplement and Medicare Part D subscribers between April 2011 and March 2012. The complaint states that Anthem's conduct violated a state law that restricts the disclosure of Social Security numbers.
"Our office is committed to protecting the privacy of Californians," said Harris. "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 the incident, Anthem sent a letter to all affected members whose Social Security numbers were visible through the mailed envelope, notifying them of the breach and offering each a year of free credit monitoring services.
The settlement also requires Anthem to implement new technical safeguards for its data management system, restrict employee access to members' Social Security numbers and provide enhanced data security training for all its associates.
The company must also pay $150,000 to settle the claim. The complaint and settlement reflect Harris' continued efforts to protect Californians' privacy particularly where thousands of consumers' personal information can be released with a push of a button.
For copies of the complaint and judgment submitted to the court for approval, visit www.oag.ca.gov.