Cyberattack on health insurer likely won't affect many Minnesotans


Minnesotans on Anthem health insurance plans have been advised to monitor their accounts after hackers stole the details of up to 80 million customers – including Social Security numbers.

Anthem has admitted that personal information of "tens of millions" of its existing and former customers has been accessed through a "sophisticated cyberattack," the Associated Press reports.

People in Minnesota are less likely to be affected than other parts of the country, as Anthem does not run any health insurance plans within this state.

But the Minnesota Department of Commerce told BringMeTheNews people employed by companies based outside of Minnesota might be affected, and they are likely to receive emails from Anthem telling them so.

"Anthem is not a Minnesota company so there are not any small group or individual health plans that are offered through Minnesota," a spokeswoman said. "But it's likely there are many companies that are based outside of Minnesota who offer their employees Anthem products."

"There are some Minnesotans affected, but it's not likely to be tons of them," she added.

What about Blue Cross?

Blue Cross Blue Shield is one of the largest insurance names being mentioned as vulnerable due to the hack.

Anthem runs Blue Cross Blue Shield health plans across 14 states, covering 37 million customers – but Minnesota is not among those states, so customers with plans based here will not be affected. Wisconsin, however, is among them.

A full list of states in which Anthem runs Blue Cross Blue Shield plans can be found here.

"Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota operates independently from Anthem Health and our systems were not affected by this event," a spokesman for Blue Cross Minnesota said. "We are in regular communication with Anthem to determine if there is any impact to members who may have received care in a state where Anthem conducts business."

Affected Anthem brands include Anthem Blue Cross, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia, New York Empire Blue Cross and Blue Shield, and Amerigroup. Other brands Caremore, Unicare, Healthlink and DeCare are also affected by the hack.

What was stolen?

The LA Times reports hackers accessed customers' names, dates of births, Social Security numbers, member IDs, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses and employment information.

Medical details and credit card information are not thought to be among the details stolen in the attack, but the Minnesota commerce department says Anthem customers should still monitor their accounts and credit reports in case any abnormalities arise.

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