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Massive Data Breach Could Affect One-Third of U.S. Residents

By Tom Marino | July 10, 2024
Last Updated: July 10, 2024

BOSTON – The Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office warns consumers that a cyberattack against a health insurance company in February that could affect up to one-third of Americans.

According to the AG’s office, the subject of the cyberattack, Change Healthcare, has not provided an individualized letter or email to consumers potentially affected by the breach, as is typical.

Change Healthcare is a subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group, the largest health insurer in the United States. UnitedHealth Group reported $22 billion in profit in 2023.

The February data breach interrupted operations for thousands of doctor’s offices, hospitals, and pharmacies. It resulted in health and personal data leaks.

The AG’s office says it began publicizing the breach and resources available to consumers, as the company has not individually notified consumers.

Change Healthcare has offered all Massachusetts residents who believe they may have been affected by the breach access to free credit monitoring and identity theft protections for two years. It provides a dedicated website and call center to help consumers set up free credit card monitoring and identity theft protections.

The company says it can not provide individuals with information on if their data may be affected.

See this page on the Change Healthcare website for more information about the cyberattack. The link to enroll in free credit monitoring is on the same page.

Consumers should look for potential signs that someone is using their medical information. According to the Federal Trade Commissionthose signs include:

  • Receiving a bill from their doctor for services they did not receive;
  • Errors in their Explanation of Benefits statement like services they never received or prescription medications they do not take;
  • Receiving a call from a debt collector about a medical debt they do not owe;
  • Medical debt collection notices on their credit report that they do not recognize;
  • Receiving a notice from their health insurance company indicating they have reached their benefit limit; or
  • Being denied insurance coverage because their medical records show a pre-existing condition they do not have.

Consumers concerned about the impact of the breach on their information but not willing to use the free resources made available by the company can also consider freezing their credit. More information on how to place a credit freeze is available on the Massachusetts state website.

A credit freeze prevents potential creditors from accessing the credit report on an individual. This stops identity thieves from taking out new fraudulent loans or credit cards under that person’s name. A credit bureau must allow any individual to place, temporarily lift, or remove a credit freeze for free.

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