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In light of Anthem’s woes, are you ready for a data breach?

Blog Post03/02/2015
Data breach

The healthcare industry is under attack. Last August, hospital giant Community Health Systems Inc. reported the cybertheft of nearly 4.5 million patient records. This month, hackers breached Anthem Inc.—the No. 2 health insurer in the United States—in what is being reported as the biggest data theft in U.S. healthcare history.

But why are hackers targeting the healthcare industry? 1) Companies like Anthem—with the private information of nearly 40 million U.S. customers—are a tempting target for identity thieves; 2) medical identity theft (as opposed to identity theft) often goes unnoticed for long periods of time, leaving hackers ample time to capitalize on fraudulent credentials; and 3) many healthcare companies are behind the times with it comes to computer systems and network security.

Here at TransUnion, we want to help. Read on to learn how Data Breach Services from TransUnion can help you mitigate breaches quickly and efficiently—arming your patients with the tools they need to combat identity theft. And stick around to see how TransUnion ID Verification can help you stop medical identity theft in its tracks.

The problem
As you’re probably aware, the healthcare industry is rapidly moving toward the complete digitization of data. “This is great for operational efficiency and patient care, but it leaves countless healthcare companies vulnerable to data breaches,” says John Woody, Vice President, TransUnion Healthcare.
According to Ponemon Institute’s Survey on Medical Identity Theft, in 2013 there were:

  • 19% more new cases of medical identity theft than in 2012
  • 1.84 million adult victims of medical identity theft in the U.S.
  • $12.3 billion in out-of-pocket costs for those victims

What’s more, the survey showed that most medical identity theft victims lose confidence in their healthcare providers.
But the problem doesn’t stop there. Hackers also lift personal information from healthcare companies (Social Security numbers, birth dates, street addresses, income data, etc.) to commit traditional identity theft, like opening a fraudulent credit card.

To combat potential breaches, the Department of Health and Human Services enacted the HIPAA Omnibus rule on March 23, 2013, (written into the HITECH Act of 2009) to create stronger privacy-related documentation provisions, including hefty penalties of up to $1.5 million per data breach.

So, as you can see, the threat is real. Accordingly, you’ll want a well-rounded plan in place to help you react to data breachesand stop medical identity theft in its tracks. That’s where TransUnion comes in.

The TransUnion solution
Why wait until after a data breach to take action? That’s when your organization will be under maximum strain. Instead, with our proactive Data Breach Services, you can easily implement a fast-reacting system that lets you quickly offer impacted patients:

  • Daily credit file monitoring and alerts of key changes to their TransUnion Credit Report or all 3 credit reports (TransUnion, Experian and Equifax)”  Unlimited access to their TransUnion Credit Report and Credit Score
  • Up to $1M ID Theft Insurance (limitations and exclusions may apply)
  • Unlimited toll-free access to ID theft specialists
  • Access to an Identity Restoration Program
  • Educational resources
  • Credit Dispute Access

Here’s how it works: In the event of a data breach, you’ll be given TransUnion activation codes, which you’ll then distribute to impacted patients.

These individuals will then visit the website for Data Breach Services and register using their supplied codes. Once registered, they will gain access to the above TransUnion services and more.

If the individual becomes a victim of identity theft, the Identity Restoration Service will provide access to a TransUnion case manager to help them identify the best course of action for prompt resolution

In addition, with TransUnion ID Verification, you can validate patient information at the point-of-sale by comparing patient-reported data to TransUnion’s extensive databases of consumer contact and financial information. This powerful solution identifies discrepancies in demographics, enables you to correct patient information and detects potential medical identity theft.

Here’s a quick look at what ID Verification does:

  • Returns one of five ID Accuracy status messages
    • Red Flag Alert
    • Investigative Warnings
    • Verify Demographics
    • No Credit Found
    • Accurate
  • Provides match-level results on how well the input data matched against TU data sources
  • Displays a side-by-side analysis for full name, data of birth, SSN and address
  • Returns up to two phone numbers along with the phone type (cell, land, etc.) and qualifier (business, residential, etc.)
  • Returns up to two other reported addresses

Want more?

For more on these two powerful products, contact a representative at 1-888-791-3088 or