Officials at the Connecticut public health exchange that administers Obamacare reported on Saturday that they are unable to determine whether personal information found in a backpack on a Hartford city street Friday was related to an effort to steal personal information of enrollees of the exchange.
CNBC reports that the “very serious” data breach could be the first known case of identity theft associated with Obamacare enrollment information.
Four notepads with the personal information of approximately 400 people — including names, Social Security numbers and birth dates of customers of the state’s health insurance exchange — were discovered in the backpack, reports the Hartford Courant.
“The notepads initially appear to belong to an employee of Maximus, the vendor providing call center services to Access Health CT,” said Peter Van Loon, the chief operating officer of the exchange. “Close examination of the data is indicating that fewer than 200 Social Security numbers were contained on the pads.”
Access Health CT spokeswoman Kathleen Tallarita said Friday that she did not know the time the backpack was found or its proximity to the exchange’s office.
Van Loon added that an investigation continues into the source of the breach.
“Access Health CT has begun calling individuals whose names were handwritten on the work papers to inform them of this potential breach,” he said. “Consumers will be offered the following remedies… at no cost: credit monitoring, fraud resolution, identity theft insurance, and security freezes of credit reports.”
According to the Courant, Hartford police arrived at the exchange office at about 2:15 p.m. Friday to meet with an Access Health CT staff member “regarding an employee possibly taking customers’ personal information,” said Deputy Police Brian Foley.
Access Health CT CEO Kevin Counihan said in a written statement that he had instructed his staff to work with Maximus, the exchange’s call center vendor, and the exchange’s outreach team to address the potential for identity theft. In addition, the exchange’s legal department is filing state and federal information breach reports.
During the Obamacare enrollment period from October through March, 208,301 people signed up for health insurance coverage through Access Health CT, including 78,713 who purchased private plans and 129,588 who were deemed eligible for Medicaid.