Lindeen signing on to multi-state investigation
HELENA, Mont. – Montana intends to sign on to a national regulatory investigation of Anthem Insurance Co., after the company experienced a cyberattack last month that exposed some 80 million Americans to identity theft, including nearly 48,000 Montanans.
The probe is led by seven states with assistance from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), the U.S. insurance standard-setting organization, of which Montana Insurance Commissioner Monica J. Lindeen is president.
“I am convening weekly calls with Anthem to understand the depth of the damage of this breach and how it affects consumers in Montana and across the country,” Lindeen said. “We’ll work to identify those affected, assure that they receive appropriate protections, and continue our efforts to improve the industry’s cybersecurity.”
The investigation the states are launching includes a “market conduct examination.” Insurance regulators, including Lindeen, routinely launch these types of comprehensive investigations to determine if companies are following state insurance laws.
Anthem is primarily a health insurance company associated with Blue Cross Blue Shield plans in other states, but it does not directly sell health insurance in Montana and has only a handful of Montana customers for other lines of insurance.
Anthem’s own internal investigation has shown the number of Montanans possibly affected by the breach is much higher than their insurance market share in Montana suggests. There are a number of reasons behind this.
First, Anthem may have processed the medical claims of Montanans who received medical care out of state and who were insured through Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana. Second, the criminals who carried out the attack accessed records dating back to 2004. Current Montana residents may have had Anthem insurance at some point in the past 11 years. Finally, some large employer groups with offices in Montana have Anthem insurance for their employees.
The information the cyberattackers accessed is far reaching, including Social Security numbers. Lindeen urged Montanans to learn more about the two-year credit protection Anthem is offering everyone involved in the breach – even those who may never have had Anthem insurance. Anthem has set up a website called AnthemFacts.com with more information. Montanans are always welcome to call Lindeen’s office directly at 1-800-332-6148 for local information.