Insurer CareFirst says 1.1 million affected in cyberattack
CareFirst Blue Cross and Blue Shield, a not-for-profit insurer serving Maryland, Washington, and northern Virginia, announced Wednesday that it was the target of a cyberattack affecting 1.1 million individuals. The latest cyberattack comes after record-breaking hacks at Premera BlueCross and Anthem, affecting 11 million and 80 million people, respectively.
Hackers infiltrated a single database in June 2014 and may have been able to acquire usernames, names, birth dates, e-mail addresses, and subscriber identification numbers. According to CareFirst, the database did not include passwords, Social Security numbers, medical claims, employment information, credit card numbers, or financial records.
Though CareFirst said the information would be of limited use to identity thieves, it will provide free credit monitoring and identity theft protection to the affected individuals for two years.
Medicare recovery audit program targeted for reform
This week, members of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging called on the CMS to make changes to Medicare’s recovery audit contractor program, which some providers have identified as a driving force behind the rise in observation stays in recent years.
Committee members urged the agency to make changes to address the “hospital observation stay crisis”, which Committee Chair Susan Collins noted can have a “devastating” monetary affect on Medicare beneficiaries. Observation stays have increased due to a number of factors, including audit contractor activities, leaving hospitals in an unfavorable position.
CMS Deputy Administrator and Director Sean Cavanaugh confirmed that his agency has already taken action to change the RAC process. He said that CMS is considering feedback from hospitals and physicians and is planning to respond with a proposed rule on outpatient prospective payments that the agency will release this summer.
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