Medicare Data Breach Affects Thousands of Beneficiaries

More than 254,000 Medicare beneficiaries have had their personal information jeopardized by a data spill and should receive a letter from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services regarding the leak. Individuals who were hit by the data breach will be supplied with new Medicare cards and ID numbers in the next couple of weeks.

What data was breached?

Officials notified that around 254,000 Medicare beneficiaries had their data at risk in an online crypto-virus ambush. Official letters from the Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) are being sent out to those impacted, which is around 0.4 percent of Medicare's 64.5 million beneficiaries. They will receive new Medicare cards along with a new ID in the next few weeks.

"The safeguarding and security of beneficiary information are of the utmost importance to this agency,... We continue to assess the impact of the breach involving the subcontractor, facilitate support to individuals potentially affected by the incident, and will take all necessary actions needed to safeguard the information entrusted to CMS."

CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure

Some information that may have been risked is name, address, date of birth, phone number, Medicare beneficiary identifier, banking information, such as routing and account numbers, Medicare entitlement, enrollment, premium information, and even Social Security number. Those affected by the data breach can expect a free credit-score monitoring service if they sign up.

During the first half of 2022, around 53 million individuals in the United States were impacted by data breaches. In the previous year, 2021, the top three industries mainly affected were healthcare, financial services, and manufacturing.

“The protection and security of beneficiary information are of the utmost importance to this agency," Brooks-LaSure said in the announcement. "We are still assessing the impact of the data breach involving the subcontractor, and providing support to individuals who may have been affected by the incident. We will take all necessary actions to safeguard the information entrusted to CMS."

Fortunately, no CMS was contravened, and Medicare claims data were also not involved. They are yet to reveal any reports regarding identity fraud or theft. Healthcare Management Solutions, its subcontractor, underwent a ransomware breach on October 8. They rapidly acted upon the breach and are participating in an ongoing investigation. Healthcare Management Solutions said it is unfortunate that "any concern this incident may have caused our community and will notify impacted individuals according to legal and contractual obligations.”

What is Medicare?

Medicare is free federal health insurance given to those who are 65 years or older. There are exceptions to the age rule, such as younger individuals with disabilities or those with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD).

There are three types of Medicare, including Medicare Part A, Part B, and Part D. Part A, which is the hospital insurance, which includes everything from inpatient hospital stays, nursing facility foster, hospice care, and certain healthcare systems. Part B is referred to as Medical Insurance and includes doctor's visits, outpatient care, medical supplies, and preventive services. The last type, Part D, or prescription drug coverage, aids in covering prescription drugs, which includes vaccines and shots.

There is also Medicare Part C, which is often referred to as the Medicare Advantage Plan. These are private companies authorized by Medicare. If you want to join Part C, you will gain access to Part A and Part B, and may even receive extra support such as vision, hearing, dental, and other health and wellness programs. It usually also covers prescription drugs. Medicare routinely pays a predetermined amount for your health insurance per month to private companies. Since Part C is run by various private companies, out-of-pocket costs can differ per visit and service, depending on the rules. Rules can change each year, so you must pay attention to the websites.

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Comments

Jeff Leston Jeff Leston
prefix 1 month ago
This is putting a Band Aid on a larger problem. Over 40 MIllion Americans had their health identity stolen in the last 2 years alone. And it does not take a breach to steal an identity. they are bought and sold routinely, and more than 2 million people have authorized, legitimate access to health information. This will create administrative SNAFUs at practices nationwide as claims are bounced, some people put new numbers in, some don't. And gthe continuity of records is in question.

The frauds will continue as criminals create synthetic identities with the information they have stolen.
The real issues have not been addressed.