Blue Cross & Blue Shield criticized over handling of private dat - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

Blue Cross & Blue Shield criticized over handling of private data

Posted: Updated:
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is under fire after a disgruntled employee released internal emails calling into question how the company protects its customers' health care data. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is under fire after a disgruntled employee released internal emails calling into question how the company protects its customers' health care data.
RALEIGH, N.C. -

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is under fire after a disgruntled employee released internal emails calling into question how the company protects its customers' health care data.

The emails detail how Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina shares private information of hundreds of thousands of its clients to an outside company that helps design its software.

Blue Cross says it is not required to mask data, and it meets or exceeds all safety requirements for data safety. The company says it protects the information, which includes names, Social Security numbers and medical data, with hardware and software that control how it is used and strict contracts.

Blue Cross says is requires any subcontractor it works with to use the same standards it uses internally to safeguard customer data.

The company also points out that it has never had a security breach.

Still, customers are concerned.

"They have no control over what happened to it once it's out of their system," customer Beth Ingersoll said.

Computer experts say the practice is dangerous and recommend the insurer look at scrambling the data.

"If you're using data for testing purposes like blue cross says it was doing, it is standard to mask out the identifying information -- the names, the patient numbers, social security numbers, anything that can compromise or determine someone's identity," said Tony Hayden with Sabre Network.

Blue Cross is the biggest private health insurer in North Carolina, with 3.7 million members. A 2010 company memo says it sent the complete data of 845,000 clients to an outside software company without scrambling it.

Steve Sbraccia

Steve is an award-winning reporter for WNCN and former assistant professor. A seasoned professional, Steve is proud to call the Triangle home since 2005 after over two decades in Boston, Mass.  More>>

  • North Carolina NewsMore>>

  • Marijuana group celebrates 4/20 with new Raleigh chapter

    Marijuana group celebrates 4/20 with new Raleigh chapter

    Monday, April 21 2014 5:09 AM EDT2014-04-21 09:09:11 GMT
    On this twentieth day of April, 4/20, some people in Raleigh are pushing for changes to the state's marijuana laws.
    On this twentieth day of April, 4/20, some people in Raleigh are pushing for changes to the state's marijuana laws.
  • NC report expands on jobless rate drop, more work

    NC report expands on jobless rate drop, more work

    North Carolina officials are releasing a report offering more details on employment conditions in March, when nearly 20,000 jobs were added and the jobless rate fell to 6.3 percent.
    North Carolina officials are releasing a report offering more details on employment conditions in March, when nearly 20,000 jobs were added and the jobless rate fell to 6.3 percent.
  • McCrory coal ash announcement miffs GOP lawmakers

    McCrory coal ash announcement miffs GOP lawmakers

    Sunday, April 20 2014 3:48 PM EDT2014-04-20 19:48:26 GMT
    Some lawmakers say they were surprised and miffed by fellow Republican Gov. Pat McCrory's announcement that he's seeking legislation to beef up government oversight of coal ash dumps.
    Some lawmakers say they were surprised and miffed by fellow Republican Gov. Pat McCrory's announcement that he's seeking legislation to beef up government oversight of coal ash dumps.
  • Henry County Suspicious Activity

    Henry County Suspicious Activity

    Saturday, April 19 2014 10:07 PM EDT2014-04-20 02:07:16 GMT
    Press Release from the Henry County Sheriff's OfficeThe Henry County Sheriff’s Office received a call on April 18, 2014 regarding suspicious activity. Three white males driving a white pickup truck were seen in the area of Glen Court in the Ridgeway area of Henry County. The individuals walked to the back of a residence but a neighbor yelled at them and they left. Entry into the home was not gained. On April 19, 2014, three white males were seen on Andra Drive, also in Ridgeway. A male subjec...
    Press Release from the Henry County Sheriff's OfficeThe Henry County Sheriff’s Office received a call on April 18, 2014 regarding suspicious activity. Three white males driving a white pickup truck were seen in the area of Glen Court in the Ridgeway area of Henry County. The individuals walked to the back of a residence but a neighbor yelled at them and they left. Entry into the home was not gained. On April 19, 2014, three white males were seen on Andra Drive, also in Ridgeway. A male subjec...
  • 3 Blacksburg companies raise major capital

    3 Blacksburg companies raise major capital

    Thursday, April 17 2014 2:29 PM EDT2014-04-17 18:29:23 GMT
    Three Blacksburg companies have raised major capital recently.
    Three Blacksburg companies have raised major capital recently.
  • Bedford Co. Sheriff's Office investigates burglary at country club

    Bedford Co. Sheriff's Office investigates burglary at country club

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 12:16 PM EDT2014-04-16 16:16:02 GMT
    Investigators with the Bedford County Sheriff's Office are investigating a burglary of the Boonsboro Country Club.
    Investigators with the Bedford County Sheriff's Office are investigating a burglary of the Boonsboro Country Club.
Powered by WorldNow

WSLS 10, P.O. Box 10
Roanoke, VA 24022-0010

Telephone: 540.981.9110
Fax: 540.343.3157
Email: news@wsls.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.