Health Information Management

WellPoint Inc. notifies nearly 500,000 of breach

HIM-HIPAA Insider, July 5, 2010

Wellpoint, Inc., of Indianapolis, notified 470,000 customers that their protected health information (PHI) may have been exposed because of a security breach, the Los Angeles Times reported June 29.

The information – which the Times says stemmed from an online program for customers to monitor their applications for coverage – included medical records and credit card numbers. The insurer learned of the breach when a California customer filed a lawsuit after she learned she could access other customers’ information through the Wellpoint website.

Wellpoint is the largest commercial health insurer with 34 million members, the Times reported.

This isn’t its first breach. Two years ago, Wellpoint notified 128,000 customers that their information had been exposed online. And in 2006, backup computer tapes holding information of 200,000 customers was stolen in a Massachusetts vendor’s office.

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