Georgians react to BCBS mixup -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Georgians react to BCBS mixup

By Sarah Baldwin - bio | email

July 30, 2008

CAIRO, GA (WALB) - Imagine information about your medical history, procedures you've undergone, conditions you suffer from, turning up in someone else's mailbox.  "All that stuff's private, and some very personal, some embarrassing. Not the kind of thing you want people to see out on the street," said Cairo resident Bill Bass.  But that's what happened to around 202,000 Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia customers.

Georgia Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine says a glitch in the company's computerized mailing system caused the mistake.  "It covers all over Georgia. Blue Cross Blue Sheild is the largest insurer.  They have people all over the state and it appears it's impacting every single corner of the state."

Oxendine told rotarians that BCBS is in the process of removing social security numbers from mailings, but some letters still had them, a scary thought.    "Anytime someone gets a hold of your social security number, we all know what can happen with that," feared Bass.

"ID theft primarily. I can't think of anything worse than ID theft," added Cairo resident Ron Hicks.  But, Oxendine assured, "What we're doing right now, we've ordered Blue Cross to send out a letter to the policy holders who's information went somewhere, and explain what happened."

Fortunately, the company at least knows who received other customer's information.  "Most people are honest, but if someone was dishonest and was going to misuse that information, I want them to know that we're aware of who they are and that they have it," said Oxendine.

They're asking those people to return the letters immediately.  If you received an incorrect Explanation of Benefits letter, contact Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia at 866-800-8776. The company could possibly face a penalty of $1,000 per incident.

They've also said any compromised customer will receive a year of free credit monitoring.



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