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Attorney General Ellison shares resources available to consumers following the Change Healthcare cyberattack

Change Healthcare offering Minnesotans two years of credit monitoring and identity theft protections

July 10, 2024 (SAINT PAUL) – Attorney General Keith Ellison is sharing consumer protection reminders and raising awareness about the availability of free credit monitoring and identity theft protection services following Change Healthcare’s February data breach. In April, Attorney General Ellison led a bipartisan coalition of 22 attorneys general in sending a letter to UnitedHealth Group, Inc. — the nation’s largest health insurer and the parent company of Change Healthcare — urging the corporation to take more meaningful action to better protect providers, pharmacies, and patients harmed by the recent breach.

Change Healthcare, a unit of UnitedHealth, is the nation’s biggest electronic data clearinghouse. Change Healthcare's technological infrastructure is used by tens of thousands of providers, pharmacies, and insurers to verify insurance, confirm pre-authorization of procedures or services, exchange insurance claim data, and perform other administrative tasks essential to the delivery of health care.

This was an unprecedented data breach. The February cyberattack interrupted operations for thousands of doctors’ offices, hospitals, and pharmacies. It also resulted in Americans’ sensitive health and personal data being leaked onto the dark web - a hidden portion of the Internet where cyber criminals buy, sell, and track personal information. The actual number and identity of affected patients are currently unknown.

Change Healthcare has publicly stated that the data breach could impact up to 1/3 of all Americans. Typically, when there is a data breach impacting Minnesotans, consumers receive an individualized letter or email if their data was impacted. However, Change Healthcare has not yet provided individual notice to consumers. Given the delay between the data breach and notification to those impacted, Attorney General Ellison is publicizing not just the breach, but also resources, including the offer that Change Healthcare has provided to the public.

“The recent data breach at Change Healthcare is unprecedented and could affect millions of Minnesotans,” said Attorney General Ellison. “I encourage everyone to avail themselves of the free credit monitoring and identity theft protections being offered by Change Healthcare, and to be on the lookout for signs that bad actors have access to their personal and medical information.”

Change Healthcare is offering Minnesota residents who believe they may have been impacted free credit monitoring and identity theft protections for two years. The dedicated website and call center will not be able to provide individuals details about whether their data was impacted but can guide them through getting set up for the free credit monitoring and identity theft protections. Since Change Healthcare has not yet provided notice to individuals and the impact is very significant, the safest course of action is for everyone should assume that their information has been involved.

• For information visit changecybersupport.com.

• To enroll in credit monitoring through IDX use the link at changecybersupport.com or call 1-888-846-4705.

• For additional support from Change Healthcare call 1-866-262-5342.

Consumers should be aware of potential warning signs that someone is using their medical information. The signs include:

• A bill from their doctor for services they did not receive;

• Errors in their Explanation of Benefits statement like services they never received or prescription medications they do not take;

• A call from a debt collector about a medical debt they do not owe;

• Medical debt collection notices on their credit report that they do not recognize;

• A notice from their health insurance company indicating they have reached their benefit limit; or

• They are denied insurance coverage because their medical records show a pre-existing condition they do not have.

If consumers are concerned that their data may have been impacted but prefer not to use the free resources provided by Change Healthcare, they can also consider:

• Freezing their credit.

A credit freeze prevents creditors—such as banks or lenders—from accessing individual’s credit reports. This will stop identity thieves from taking out new loans or credit cards in consumer’s names because creditors will not approve their loans or credit requests if they cannot first access their credit reports. By law, a credit bureau must allow you to place, temporarily lift, or remove a credit freeze for free.

When consumers freeze their credit with each bureau, the bureaus will send them a personal identification number. The consumers can then use that PIN to unfreeze their credit if they want to apply for a loan or credit card. Consumers can also use the PIN to freeze their credit again after they have applied for loans or a new credit card.

Individuals will have to freeze their credit with each bureau: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.

• Equifax | https://www.equifax.com/personal/credit-report-services/credit-freeze/

• +1 (888) 766-0008

• Experian | https://www.experian.com/freeze/center.html

• +1 (888) 397-3742

• TransUnion | https://www.transunion.com/credit-freeze

• +1 (800) 680-7289

 

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