Health Net: Why Were 103,000 Doctors’ Social Security Numbers Posted On the Web?

Health Net, Inc., one of California’s largest health care insurers, says that it posted the Social Security numbers of 103,000 doctors in 11 states on its website. The company did not discover the error for over two months – leaving doctors vulnerable to identity theft.

Why did this happen?

According to Health Net, the error was partly human error and partly software malfunctioning. Once discovered, Health Net notified the doctors in all 11 states, including Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Iowa, Missouri, Kentucky and West Virginia. While the company doesn’t believe that any of the information has been misused, it has agreed to pay for one year’s worth of credit monitoring services.

Continuing troubles for the insurer

Health Net’s business practices have come under intense scrutiny within the past month and it has been fined millions of dollars for rescinding health care insurance policies.

  • Los Angeles investigation. The insurer is being investigated by Los Angeles City Attorney, Rocky Delgadillo for illegal business practices in California. Delgadillo alleges that the companies engaged in unlawful, unfair and fraudulent business practices and unfair, deceptive, untrue and misleading advertising in violation of California’s Unfair Competition and False Advertising laws. Specifically, the complaint alleges that Health Net purposefully used false and misleading marketing in an effort to gain more members and collected applicants’ medical histories using intentionally misleading forms that called for applicants to make educated medical judgments.
  • $9 Million arbitration award. The company was recently was ordered to pay $9 million by a private arbitration judge after the company canceled a cancer patient’s coverage while she was in the middle of receiving chemotherapy treatments. The award has been described as the first of its kind and sends a strong warning to insurance companies to stop canceling policies in bad faith.

Illegal health care policy rescissions equate to bad faith and consumers should not accept benefit denials without contacting an attorney. For a free, no-obligation consultation with an attorney who understands how insurance companies operate, please click here.

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