The recently revealed data security breach at Anthem was the largest known health care data breach to date, affecting as many as 80 million current and former policyholders. But the cyber attack on Anthem also has had an impact on brokers, who have moved quickly to address questions from the individual policyholders and business groups they work with.
According to Susan Rider, national media chair for the National Association of Health Underwriters, brokers and employers groups have been working together to answer questions from policyholders since the data breach was found.
“Clients are trying to be proactive,” she said. “They’re trying to be open with the communication they provide.”
Anthem itself moved quickly to provide consumer information, setting up a web page that addressed the data breach and providing a set of Frequently Asked Questions for consumers.
Anthem also put out a statement last week outlining the details of the attack and the steps it was taking in response.
“As soon as we learned about the attack, we immediately made every effort to close the security vulnerability, contacted the FBI and began fully cooperating with their investigation. Anthem has also retained Mandiant, one of the world’s leading cybersecurity firms, to evaluate our systems and identify solutions based on the evolving landscape,” the company said in a statement.
“We will individually notify current and former members whose information has been accessed. Credit monitoring and identity protection services will be provided free of charge so that those who have been affected can have peace of mind.”
Brokers work to inform clients
Rider says that after the breach was announced, the brokerage she works with, Indianapolis-based Gregory and Appel Insurance, created emails with information for enrollees that was then shared with employer groups. The firm also created an email with information for clients who had worked with Anthem in the past, who might also be affected by the breach.
In addition, Rider says, Anthem and brokers have had to warn customers about “phishing” campaigns by scammers who will seek to gain even more customer information, claiming to be representatives of Anthem.
The Anthem data breach, like the cyber attack on Target last year that revealed credit card information, has exposed personal information that can be used in a variety of ways.