Ga. health insurer sends benefit letters to wrong people

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia accidentally mailed 202,000 benefit letters to the wrong addresses.

What type of personal information? Patient names and identification numbers, with a small number containing Social Security numbers. Amounts owed and the name of their medical provider also were included.

What happened? "Explanation of Benefit" letters were mistakenly sent to the wrong addresses because of a computer system glitch, which has since been resolved.

What was the response? Victims will receive one year of free credit monitoring. The number of affected people may not be as high as 202,000 because some people received multiple letters.

Details: Blue Cross and Blue Shield may have violated Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act regulations, experts say. The insurer plans to remove Social Security numbers from all future mailings.

Quote: "This is very, very serious." - State Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine

Source:, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "Private medical data exposed," July 29.

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