What physicians and practices need to consider regarding Premera Blue Cross data breach
After last week�s announcement that Premera Blue Cross had suffered a data breach potentially compromising millions of its customers� data, the insurer is reaching out to affected individuals with guidance�as well as a warning to not open emails related to the breach.
The insurer last week said the �cyberattack,� originally discovered on Jan. 29, could impact approximately 11 million customers�including an estimated six million in Washington state. Customer data from the insurer that may have been accessed include member name, date of birth, email address, address, telephone number, Social Security number, member identification numbers, bank account information, and claims information, including clinical information. Affected information dates back to 2002.
While the data breach was first discovered in January, investigation by Premera revealed that the initial attack occurred on May 5, 2014.
Premera is mailing letters to customers affected by the attack and has established a dedicated call center to receive questions. For those affected individuals, the insurer is offering two years of free credit monitoring and identity protection services.
Furthermore, Premera states it will not be sending email to members regarding this attack. If a patient or physician receives an email claiming to be related to this attack that appears to be from Premera, the insurer urges the recipient to delete the email immediately and to not open any attachments.
WSMA legal staff suggests that practices consider posting, or otherwise making available, Premera�s press release about the data breach so that Premera members are informed at the time of service. Premera provides further details and guidance at www.premeraupdate.com and www.lifewiseupdate.com.