BlueCross and BlueShield of Tennessee will offer free identity theft consultation and restoration services to an additional 169,719 members identified as being affected by an October breach of data after hard drives containing protected health information on at least 521,761 members were stolen (see story).

The additional members are family members of 131,909 BCBS of Tennessee subscribers whose name, address, Blues ID number, date of birth and/or diagnosis were on one of the hard drives. The plan soon will send a letter to the subscribers notifying them of the breach and offering identity theft services to them and family members associated with the subscriber's ID number.

The plan has identified these subscribers and family members, a total of 301,628, as being in the Tier 2 category of risk. Another 220,133 members--in the Tier 3 category because their information included Social Security numbers--previously received notification letters offering free credit monitoring and identity theft prevention services.

The plans now is identifying Tier 1 members at the lowest risk for misuse of their information and will offer them identity theft prevention services. As of Feb. 5, the Chattanooga-based insurer has documented no incidents of identity theft or credit card fraud.

The theft occurred on Oct. 2 and the plan learned about it on Oct. 5. Work to identify and match data began on Oct. 7. The health plan and Kroll Inc., security firm, completed an audit of back-up files on Jan. 4. They continue to analyze the breached data. Notification letters to affected members started on Dec. 7. The plan has distributed regular updates to the media. More information is available at bcbst.com/learn/special-information/eastgate/.

--Joseph Goedert

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