Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield already announced last week they will not be renewing insurance plans that cover approximately 500,000 people in New Jersey due to Universal Health Care. You undoubtedly heard about it. You may even be one of them.
To add insult to injury, Save Jerseyans, they also warned 840,000 customers by letter that two laptops were stolen from their Newark headquarters; consequently, the security of thousands of identities may be in jeopardy.
According to Horizon’s letter to consumers, the laptops contained “your name, Social Security number, and demographic information (e.g., address, date of birth, Horizon BCBSNJ identification number).”
The letter (click here to read one) goes on to inform the consumer that Horizon will provide them with a free one-year membership to an id protection company but, as you might imagine, that gesture does little to soothe the fears of those affected. Also the kicker is the computers were actually reported stolen to the Newark Police Department on Monday, November 4th but the letters were not sent out until December 6th leaving consumers scrambling to check their credit cards, savings and checking accounts and credit reports. On their company Facebook page consumers were already reporting fraudulent activity.
You might be saying “it is not the fault of Blue Cross Blue Shield their laptops were stolen,” and you might be right, but ironically, this isn’t the first time its happened.
Back in 2008, Blue Cross and Blue Shield reported a laptop was stolen in New Jersey that contained 300,000 members’ information and again they offered the free one year service to an id protection company. There have also been other similar incidents across the United States in the last several years. In 2010, close to 1 million members of BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee had their computer hard drives stolen and the October prior the Chattanooga-based department contacted 447,549 of their customers to alert them of stolen items as well and those are only a few examples.
This seems to be an ongoing problem that Horizon Blue Cross and Blue Shield needs to address. New Jersey legislators tried to intervene in 2010 but seemingly the problem has yet to be corrected leaving others to wonder if their identity will be stolen next… for those lucky enough to still have a policy!
The extra-terrible part is that Obamacare’s website remains a hackers’ paradise. Sometimes there’s simply no way to win.