Last year, several major U.S.-based health insurance companies were hit with data breaches that put millions of consumers’ private information at risk. The trend continued this week, with nearly a million health records going missing from Centene Corp.
St. Louis-based Centene announced on Monday that it is conducting an internal search of its IT assets in order to pinpoint the location of six hard drives containing files on 950,000 clients that were unaccounted for in its inventory.
While the company assures consumers that the missing files don’t contain financial or payment details, they do include the names, addresses, birthdates, Social Security numbers, member identification numbers, and health information of patients who received laboratory services between 2009 and 2015.
“Centene takes the privacy and security of our members’ information seriously,” Michael F. Neidorff, Chairman, President and CEO of Centene, said in a statement. “While we don’t believe this information has been used inappropriately, out of abundance of caution and in transparency, we are disclosing an ongoing search for the hard drives.”
The drives were a part of a data project using laboratory results to improve the health outcomes of our members, the company says.
“Consistent with our policies around communication and transparency, we are beginning the process of notifying all affected individuals and all appropriate regulatory agencies as we continue to search and investigate,” Neidorff said, noting that affected individuals will be offered free credit and healthcare monitoring.
The company is also in the process of reinforcing and reviewing its procedures related to the management of its IT assets.