AccessHealthCT, the health insurance exchange in Connecticut, has suffered a breach of protected health information that affects 400 residents of the state.

On June 6, an employee of a contractor for AccessHealthCT left a backpack on Trumbull Street in Hartford, which contained notepads with names, birth dates and Social Security numbers associated with accounts of customers of the exchange. The exchange is on the same street.

(See also: Status Check on Medical ID Theft: Going Up)

The employee works for Maximus, which operates the exchange’s call center. In an initial statement on June 6 AccessHealthCT CEO Kevin Counihan said COO Peter Van Loon is working with Maximus to address the situation, which includes addressing the potential issue of identity theft. “Our legal department is also in the process of filing all required state and federal breach reports,” he said.

In a statement, Maximus said, “Further investigation has led us to believe that this was an incident where there was no malicious intent. At this time, Maximus has no reason to believe that any of the information in the backpack has been misused.” The company took full responsibility for the breach and is offering fraud prevention services to affected exchange customers. Maximus said the employee violated policy which prohibits removing protected information from the facility and has been placed on administrative leave as the investigation continues.

Van Loon told the Hartford Courant on June 7 that fewer than 200 Social Security numbers were on the note pad. It is not clear if all affected members or only those with compromised Social Security numbers will receive protective services.

Maximus provided Health Data Management with a prepared statement but a spokesperson was not available for comment. A spokesperson for AccessHealthCT did not respond to an interview request.

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