Those affected in Pennsylvania include those who have, or had, Anthem-brand insurance, as well as those who have coverage through a Pennsylvania-based Blue Cross Blue Shield plan but who received care out of state, in Anthem’s geographic service area.
Anthem, a multistate health carrier, sells policies and processes health claims in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin.
Pennsylvania has four Blues plans — Pittsburgh’s Highmark Inc., Philadelphia’s Independence Blue Cross, Harrisburg’s Capital BlueCross, and Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania. It is not yet clear how many current and former customers might have been affected from each of the plans.
Highmark is the largest of the four Pennsylvania Blues carriers.
“At this point in the investigation, we continue to work with Anthem to reconcile files,” said Highmark spokesman Aaron Billger. “As Highmark members are identified, we will be contacting them through a letter to alert them to the Anthem data breach and advise them to follow Anthem’s directions for obtaining their free offering of identity protection services. These same members will receive direct communication from Anthem.”
Anthem, the nation’s second-largest health insurer, says hackers may have gained access to customers’ names, addresses, medical IDs, Social Security numbers, birthdays, and even job and income data.
The breach was reported Feb. 4, and at the time, the insurer had hoped to notify affected customers within 10 to 14 days. But that timeline has been complicated by the complexity of the breach. Because the stolen data go back 10 years, millions of customers may have switched health plans, moved to another state, gained Medicare coverage or even died in the intervening period.
And some 14 million of the stolen records were incomplete, which is another reason Anthem and affiliated Blue Cross insurers are having a difficult time reconciling records and the names attached to them.
A spokesman for state Attorney General Kathleen Kane said her office is “continuing to look into the cause of this breach and its impact on commonwealth residents. We encourage consumers to watch out for any unauthorized charges on their bank or credit card statements, to regularly review their credit reports and to be mindful of email [fraud] schemes.”
Meanwhile, the state Insurance Department said while it does not have jurisdiction over Anthem, “we are ready to help affected consumers navigate this situation and will take questions through the department’s hotline,” at 1-877-881-6388. The Attorney General’s health care help line number is 1-877-888-4877.
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