Insurance company, WellPoint, fined $1.7m over data exposure

WellPoint failed to secure its online application database, which exposed more than 600,000 records

Insurance provider WellPoint has agreed to pay a $1.7 million fine for exposing more than 600,000 personal records online due to weak database security, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) said Thursday.

WellPoint, based in Indianapolis, is one the largest health insurers in the U.S., with more than 100 million customers covered by it and its subsidiaries.

In 2009, WellPoint reported to the federal agency that an online database holding personal and health information for 612,402 individuals was left accessible over the Internet between October 2009 and March 2010. The data included names, addresses, birth dates, Social Security numbers, phone numbers and health information.

The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act requires that organizations which fall under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) Privacy and Security Rules must report health-related data breaches, according to HHS.

An HHS investigation found that WellPoint did not have adequate policies and procedures for access to the online application database. WellPoint did not have "technical safeguards" in place to verify people seeking access to the health information held in system, HHS said.

The case should remind HIPPA entities to take care in managing information systems, particularly when changing Web-based applications or portals, HHS said in news release.

HHS advised that starting Sept. 23, the liability for many HIPPA requirements will extend to contractors and subcontractors.

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com. Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags WellPoint

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Cate Bacon

Aruba Instant On AP11D

The strength of the Aruba Instant On AP11D is that the design and feature set support the modern, flexible, and mobile way of working.

Dr Prabigya Shiwakoti

Aruba Instant On AP11D

Aruba backs the AP11D up with a two-year warranty and 24/7 phone support.

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?