Hapless Health Insurer Loses Six Hard Drives Containing Nearly 1 Million Patient Records

We've all misplaced things—keys, smartphone, USB flash drive—but have you ever lost half a dozen hard drives? Healthcare provider Centene Corporation did and it's currently conducting an "ongoing comprehensive internal search" for the missing HDDs, the company announced this week.

Centene discovered it was six hard drives short when auditing the inventory of its information technology assets in preparation for a data project. No small thing, the HDDs contain sensitive information of around 950,000 patients, including names, addresses, dates of birth, social security numbers, member ID numbers, and health information.

Hard Drive

"Centene takes the privacy and security of our members' information seriously," said Michael F. Neidorff, Chairman, President and CEO of Centene. "While we don't believe this information has been used inappropriately, out of abundance of caution and in transparency, we are disclosing an ongoing search for the hard drives. The drives were a part of a data project using laboratory results to improve the health outcomes of our members."

On the bright side, the healthcare provider said that no financial or payment information was contained on the missing drives, so at least affected individuals don't have to worry about fraudulent charges appearing as a result of the mishap. Nevertheless, Centene is offering affected individuals free credit and healthcare monitoring.