In one of the year’s largest health care data security breaches, unidentified hackers have accessed personal information belonging to 3.3 million people nationwide, including 277,000 Blue Cross and Blue Shield customers in North Carolina.
The data security breach compromised a data server operated by Albany, N.Y.-based Newkirk Solutions, a third-party vendor that provides health insurance ID cards for the health care industry. The breach occurred May 21 and was discovered July 6, according to Newkirk Solutions. The vendor shut down the server and hired a forensic investigator to analyze the extent of the breach.
The hackers did not obtain Social Security numbers, banking or credit card information, medical information or insurance claims, according to Newkirk. The information contained on Blue Cross’s Medicare ID cards includes customer name, mailing address, type of plan, and member and group ID number.
According to Newkirk, there is no evidence that any of the personal information obtained in the unauthorized access has been misused, but the company is urging affected customers to monitor their account statements and medical bills for suspicious activity.
All customers affected by the breach will receive letters from Newkirk. The customers are insured by a dozen organizations, including Blue Cross organizations in Kansas City as well as western New York and northeastern New York.
The letters explain the incident and offer 2 years of free identity protection and restoration service. Blue Cross is instructing customers to check their accounts for suspicious activity.
For more information, affected customers are advised to call 855-303-9773 or go to http://newkirkproductsfacts.com.