Insurance industry groups and insiders are responding to the Premera Blue Cross cyber attack by communicating with clients, offering additional services and stressing the need for immediate action.
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners said it is “coordinating an action plan” in response to the announcement of the security breach at Premera Blue Cross.
Part of that response, explained NAIC Spokeswoman Katherine Jones, is likely a multi-state investigation lead by the Washington state commissioner, where Premera is based. That’s the same protocol the group used after the Anthem attack in February, the largest known health care data breach to date, affecting as many as 80 million current and former policyholders.
The Premera Blue Cross hack comprised the information of significantly fewer consumers than the Anthem breach — more than 11 million customers. But preliminary information suggests the Premera hack includes more sensitive information. Premera said that names, birthdays, email addresses, physical addresses, telephone numbers, Social Security numbers, member IDs, bank account information, medical information, and insurance claims might have been exposed.
“Events like this underscore the need for consumers to take immediate and ongoing action to protect personal information like passwords to bank accounts, credit card companies, health insurance accounts and any electronic database that contains sensitive, personal information,” NAIC President and Montana Commissioner of Securities and Insurance Monica Lindeen said in a statement. “Unfortunately, sophisticated hacks are a threat to nearly every segment of our population, as we’ve witnessed with Sony, Target, Home Depot and Anthem in the past few months.”
In the meantime, NAIC urged consumers to change passwords, check credit reports and carefully monitor all accounts that may contain sensitive information.
America’s Health Insurance Plans also said it is monitoring the issue.
“Health plans are committed to working in partnership with government and other stakeholders to protect consumers, identify potential threats and secure member information,” said Ben Jenkins, AHIP spokesman.
The Premera attack is the latest in a string of high-profile, sophisticated cyber attacks, signaling the need for action, Jenkins said.
“Cyberterrorism is a national security issue that requires strong collaboration between both the public and private sectors to accurately assess emerging threats and prevent future breaches,” he said.