California Physicians Service d/b/a Blue Shield of California suffers HIPAA email breach

Featured image

Share this article

hipaa email breach, hipaa email data breach, paubox hipaa breach report

On April 13, 2018, Blue Shield of California submitted a HIPAA Email Breach to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Based in San Francisco, California, Blue Shield of California’s email breach affected 1717 individuals’ protected health information.

Blue Shield of California is classified as a Health Plan.

According to Blue Shield of California’s statement:

On March 23, 2018, the Blue Shield of California (Blue Shield) Privacy Office received confirmation that your Protected Health Information had been shared with an insurance broker who was not authorized to receive it. The disclosure occurred in November 2017, during the 2018 Medicare Annual Enrollment Period, when a Blue Shield employee emailed a document containing your PHI to an insurance broker in violation of Blue Shield policies. We sincerely apologize for this incident and regret any inconvenience it may cause you.

The Protected Health Information (PHI) disclosed included only the following: your name, home address, mailing address, Blue Shield subscriber identification number, telephone number, and the name of the Blue Shield Medicare Advantage plan you were enrolled in at the time.

Blue Shield began its investigation into this matter in mid-January 2018. We believe that the broker who received your PHI may have used it to contact you for purposes of selling you a Medicare Advantage Plan offered by another health insurance company.

Blue Shield has reported this matter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which oversees the Medicare program. We have taken disciplinary action against the employees who were responsible for sending your PHI to the insurance broker. Our Medicare sales staff is being re-trained on the appropriate use and disclosure of member PHI.

Blue Shield takes this incident seriously and is committed to maintaining your privacy.

HHS Wall of Shame

The HHS Wall of Shame is a website under the jurisdiction of HHS that lists all HIPAA breaches reported within the last 24 months. The Wall of Shame displays breaches that are currently under investigation by the Office for Civil Rights.

As part of section 13402(e)(4) of the HITECH Act, the HHS Secretary must post a list of breaches of unsecured protected health information affecting 500 or more individuals.

HIPAA Breach Report

The Paubox HIPAA Breach Report analyzes breaches that affected 500 or more individuals as reported in the HHS Wall of Shame.

Try Paubox Email Suite for FREE today.
Author Photo

About the author

Arianna Etemadieh

Arianna is an Inbound Marketing Specialist at Paubox. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, traveling, and volunteering at the animal shelter.

Read more by Arianna Etemadieh

Get started with
end-to-end protection

Bolster your organization’s security with healthcare’s most trusted HIPAA compliant email solution

The #1-rated email encryption 
and security software on G2

G2 Badge: Email Encryption Leader Fall 2022
G2 Badge: Security Best Usability Fall 2022
G2 Badge: Encryption Momentum Leader Fall 2022
G2 Badge: Security Best Relationship Fall 2022
G2 Badge: Security Users Most Likely to Recommend Fall 2022
G2 Badge: Email Gateway Best Relationship Fall 2022
G2 Badge: Email Gateway Best Meets Requirements Fall 2022
G2 Badge - Users Most Likely to Recommend Summer 2022
G2 Badge: Email Gateway Best Results Fall 2022
G2 Badge: Email Gateway Best Usability Fall 2022
G2 Badge: Email Gateway Best Support Fall 2022
G2 Badge: Email Gateway Easiest To Use Fall 2022
G2 Badge: Email Gateway Easiest Setup Fall 2022
G2 Badge: Email Gateway Easiest Admin Fall 2022
G2 Badge: Email Gateway Easiest to do Business with Fall 2022
G2 Badge: Email Gateway Highest User Adoption 2022
G2 Badge: Email Gateway High Performer Fall 2022
G2 Badge: Email Gateway Momentum Leader Fall 2022
G2 Badge: Email Gateway Most Implementable Fall 2022
G2 Badge: Email Gateway Users Most Likely to Recommend Fall 2022