Whoops, it happened again—another data breach. This time the hackers pulled personal information (including Social Security numbers) for an estimated 80 million Anthem health plan subscribers. "While we won’t speculate as to why or how the Anthem breach occurred, GreenField Health can assure you that your personal health information is secure with us," says Anita Walker, Administrator, citing two reasons:
1) We have an excellent, top-of-the-line firewall, and we monitor it closely.
2) We utilize secure messaging for all clinician-patient messages, which is why we ask you to use the patient portal to communicate electronically with your clinician or health coordinator. Secure messaging ensures that any personal health information is ‘encrypted,’ or scrambled, if it goes beyond the safety of our firewall.
In addition, many members use a credit card to pay for co-pays, co-insurance, the membership fee, etc. All credit card payments go through a third-party processor, which has strict standards for encrypting credit card numbers. Once a payment goes through, neither GreenField Health nor our third-party processor retains the full credit card number; only the last four digits are recorded.
How to Protect Your Identity: A Credit Freeze
Experts on cyber security say to expect more attacks like the one that hit Anthem—personal health information is valuable to thieves. Because of this, we recommend that you consider a ‘credit freeze,’ which restricts access to your credit report. Also called a security freeze, this will prevent an identity thief from taking out a line of credit in your name without permission. All you need to do to enact it is contact each of the nationwide credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Each credit agency will charge $10 to place a security freeze.
Be wary of unsolicited emails, too, advises Brian Cooper, GreenField Health IT Administrator. “Criminals are doing their best to produce what appear to be legitimate emails or links, and when clicked, it gives them access to your computer,” he says. Such tactics enable hackers to steal your personal data right from under your nose and even worse, lock access to your computer and hold it for ransom, aka ‘ransomware.’
“If you receive any emails or notifications or popup windows you didn’t specifically request that ask you to view a link or click a button even (if that button says Quit or Exit), delete them immediately,” Cooper says.
In the meantime, rest assured that your personal health information is secure within the firewall of GreenField Health. Please contact us if you have other questions or concerns.
- Stay Safe Online, powered by the National Cybersecurity Alliance, whose mission is to "educate and therefore empower a digital society to use the Internet safely and securely at home, work, and school, protecting the technology individuals use, the networks they connect to, and our shared digital assets."
- "Frequently Asked Questions: Security Freeze," State of Oregon, Division of Finance and Corporate Securities
- "Ransomware authors streamline attacks, infections rise," PC World, Feb. 10, 2015