Monday, September 21, 2015

Healthcare & Insurance Companies Data Breach

The latest targets that hackers are singling out are healthcare related companies. For there is one building or server that possess an individuals, medical records, Social Security number and personal information. Therefore, with this latest attack on the health insurer Excellus BlueCross BlueShield and a partner company compromising 10 million customers, this is starting to become a common occurrence and should be a cause of concern for many. In this year alone, there have been a couple of major incidents one involving 80 million and another 4.5 million health records being stolen. Inevitably leading to all healthcare related companies to step up their security and provide their clients with identity protection services.
With all of that being said, from an individual’s point of view, what steps should be taken? Well, one could simply refuse to provide their information to these care providers and insurance companies. However, this is unrealistic for there is no way, currently, of keeping track of your medical record without having your personal information on hand to verify. In addition, if there was an emergency and you came into the hospital but the doctors could not find out if you had any preexisting conditions, a routine surgery could turn into a life and death situation. All that being said, it is obvious hospitals and insurance companies couldn’t work effectively without your personal information. Now, what is someone supposed to do to prevent themselves from becoming a victim of fraud or having their medical info stolen? The simple answer is to be vigilant and aware that this is becoming a bigger issue. Therefore, one should keep track of their credit score on a regular bases, as well as pay attention to you medical provider and insurance company to see if they have become a victim of a data breach. Lastly, take advantage of services such as Kroll or Trans Union if you are worried about becoming a target, or simply looking for a piece of mind. These types of services will monitor against identity theft and credit card fraud which is a start if you do end up becoming a victim.

Having coverage against identity theft and credit card fraud is a good start; however, the implications can be a lot greater if you do end up becoming a victim. One last example is that advertising companies could use your medical history to target you with specific ads. Though this may sound minuet in comparison to identity theft, the internet now knows everything about you medically which could be used against you in a number of ways. This includes the insurance company that provided you with the coverage turning against you and charging higher premiums. 

"Data Breach Exposes 10M Health Records from New York Insurer - CNET." CNET. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Sept. 2015.

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