UC student, employee information may be compromised by Anthem security breach

The personal information of some UC students and employees may be at risk after a digital security breach of health insurance company Anthem, Inc.
Rachael Garner/Staff
The personal information of some UC students and employees may be at risk after a digital security breach of health insurance company Anthem, Inc.

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The personal information of past and present UC students and employees may have been compromised during a digital security breach of health insurance company Anthem, Inc.

Hackers infiltrated a database containing 80 million people’s personal information, according to a statement by Anthem Blue Cross spokesperson Darrel Ng. Vulnerable information, he said, includes victims’ names, birthdays, Social Security numbers, street addresses, email addresses and employment information, including income data.

Anthem is currently investigating whose information, if any, has been stolen. The company, however, has said there is no current indication that the personal information of UC students, employees, retirees or their dependents has been misused, according to a UC press release.

The UC Student Health Insurance Plan, or SHIP, an insurance plan in place at seven UC campuses, is part of the Anthem Blue Cross network. UC Berkeley separated from the systemwide plan in 2013, creating its own version of SHIP and switching providers to Aetna. UC employees no longer have Anthem Blue Cross network health insurance as of Jan. 1, 2014, according to UC spokesperson Brooke Converse.

Ng said Anthem currently doesn’t have enough information to determine whether or not UC Berkeley students who were insured with SHIP prior to the campus’ switch to Aetna will be affected by the breach. Anthem Blue Cross will individually inform current and former members of its network if their information has been compromised, he said.

“We don’t have much information at this point and I don’t want to engage in speculation,” said UC Berkeley spokesperson Janet Gilmore in an email.

The company will also provide free credit monitoring and identity protection services to individuals with stolen information.

Anthem has set up a dedicated website and hotline for affected customers. Furthermore, Ng said, they have contacted the FBI and retained a cybersecurity firm in the wake of the hack.

According to the website, affected plans include Anthem Blue Cross, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia, Empire Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Amerigroup, Caremore, Unicare, Healthlink and DeCare.

In 2009, University Health Services suffered another security breach, in which the Social Security numbers and personal information of as many as 160,000 students were leaked. The incident, attributed to hackers in Asia, was an attack on UHS’ own databases, rather than its insurance provider. The hacking took place over the course of six months.

Contact Sonja Hutson and G. Haley Massara at [email protected].