Column 85 Anthem Security Breach may or may not effect you! What do you do now?

The security breach at Anthem Blue Cross can be a very disturbing issue since our insurance companies have so much data about us. Even though the current enrollment process does not require a lot of health history, the simple fact is that the application contains enough data to begin an identity theft.  Further our claims information includes much of our medical history and treatment data.  So this is all rather unsettling.

 

I am also insured by Anthem as my husband is a teacher and our benefits under the CVT (Central Valley Trust) are provided through Anthem.  As brokers we were advised last week that Anthem would provide insureds with identity theft protection. 

The press release was quite clear that Anthem would contact members by mail-but then on l Tuesday  2/17/2015.   We received a notice that they will be sending out emails to clients who have an email address on file. starting 2/18.  They gave all the standard warnings against phishing scams:

 

  • DO NOT click on any links in email.
  • DO NOT reply to the email or reach out to the senders in any way.
  • DO NOT supply any information on the website that may open, if you have clicked on a link in an email.
  • DO NOT open any attachments that arrive with email.

Anthem is not calling members regarding the cyber attack and is not asking for credit card information or social security numbers over the phone.

Further they provided a website with additional information:  www.anthemfacts.com.  Here it is explained that they have contracted with a company, AllClear ID to offer 24 months of identity theft repair and credit monitoring services to current or former members of an affected Anthem plan dating back to 2004.

 

As you read on you will find that for additional protection, and at no cost, you may also enroll in the AllClear PRO service at any time during the 24 month coverage period. This service includes credit monitoring and an identity theft insurance policy. You may enroll at https://anthem.allclearid.com/.  Those without Internet access or who prefer assistance via telephone can call 877-263-7995.

 

It is important to note that Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of CA are separate companies.  But both belong to the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and can provide reciprocity for claims handling in other states.  This may be one way that Blue Shield customers could have been exposed. Anthem may also be a service provider to a self-insured plan or other vendors. The site states that these plans include but are not limited to Amerigroup, UniCare, CareMore and HealthPlus Amerigroup.

 

I am rather surprised at the way this is being handled.  The initial information instructs that you don't have to do anything and if you actually have an issue, you can call and they will help you. It seems to say, "Don't worry, if you have a problem we will take care of you". 

Of course, I am no identity theft expert, but it seems by then it might be a bit too late.  Wouldn't it be better to be proactive? 

As an agent I was involved in a breach at Blue Shield.  We were told that agent information may be at risk. We were given free credit monitoring for which we had to sign up.  I get monthly summaries from the company telling me about any activity, suspicious or not.  I admit it is comforting when I get the email that says "no activity this month".

While I am not looking forward to more emails in my box, I enrolled in the All Clear "Pro" service referenced above.  I am conscientious and balance my checking account and credit card statements every month, but it seems that these thieves are getting more creative all the time.  Plus, let's be honest, it's free so why not?