Highmark fires employee for mailing error, notifies thousands of possible breach

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Healthcare company Highmark is notifying about 3,675 Security Blue and Freedom Blue members that a former employee made an error when mailing out health risk assessments, which could have resulted in a compromise of their personal information.

How many victims? About 3,675. 

What type of personal information? Names, addresses, dates of birth and certain medical information.

What happened? A mailing error by a former Highmark employee resulted in health risk assessments containing personal information being sent to the wrong members.

What was the response? Highmark is notifying impacted members, and replacing their unique identification numbers. The employee was fired.

Details: The letters were mailed on April 19. About 63 members reported receiving assessments belonging to other members, as well as their own, and 233 reported having never received their assessments. Highmark has been unable to determine how many letters were incorrectly mailed. Highmark handles the mailing internally and said the issue was caused by human error. Lisa Martinelli, chief privacy officer with Highmark, said there is no evidence that the information was accessed or used inappropriately.   

Source: bizjournals.com, Pittsburgh Business Times, “Highmark notifies members of possible data breach,” June 5, 2014.

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