New Jersey Consumers Who May Have Been Affected by Health Data Breach Should Act Now to Protect Their Information – MidJersey.News

New Jersey Consumers Who May Have Been Affected by Health Data Breach Should Act Now to Protect Their Information – MidJersey.News

Change Healthcare offers two years of free credit monitoring and identity theft protection

July 10, 2024

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER) – Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin today shared consumer protection reminders and raised awareness about the availability of free credit monitoring and identity theft protection services following the unprecedented Change Healthcare data breach in February.

The February cyberattack on Change Healthcare, a unit of UnitedHealth, leaked sensitive personal and health data of millions of Americans onto the dark web, a hidden part of the internet where cybercriminals buy, sell and track personal information.

Change Healthcare is the nation’s largest electronic data clearinghouse and is used by tens of thousands of providers, pharmacies and insurers to verify insurance, confirm preauthorization for procedures or services, exchange claims data and perform other administrative tasks. The cyberattack disrupted operations at thousands of medical offices, hospitals and pharmacies across the country and impacted the delivery of patient care.

While the final number and identity of affected patients is currently unknown, Change Healthcare has publicly stated that the data breach could affect up to a third of the U.S. population.

Typically, when a data breach affects New Jersey residents, consumers receive a personalized letter or email if their data may have been exposed. However, Change Healthcare has not yet provided individual notices to consumers.

Given the time lag between the data breach and notification to affected individuals, Attorney General Platkin wants every New Jersey resident to be aware of the breach and the credit monitoring resources Change Healthcare offers to consumers. All New Jersey residents who believe they have been affected are eligible for free credit monitoring and identity theft protection for two years.

To sign up for this free credit monitoring and identity restoration service, consumers should visit or call 1-888-846-4705.

Consumers may also consider taking other steps, including:

  • Place a free credit freeze on your credit report. Identity thieves will not be able to open a new credit account in your name while the freeze is in effect. You can request a credit freeze by contacting each of the three major credit bureaus:
  • Place a fraud alert on your credit report. A fraud alert informs lenders and creditors to take additional steps to verify your identity before issuing credit. You can issue a fraud alert by contacting one of the three major credit bureaus.

The dedicated website and call center won’t be able to provide individuals with specific details about whether their data has been compromised, but representatives can guide consumers through setting up free credit monitoring and identity theft protections.

In addition, consumers should be aware of potential risks. warning signs that someone is using your medical information. Signs include:

  • A bill from their doctor for services they did not receive;
  • Mistakes in their insurance benefit statement, such as medical services they never received or prescription medications they are not taking;
  • A call from a debt collector about a medical debt he doesn’t owe;
  • Medical debt collection notices on their credit report that they don’t recognize;
  • A notice from their health insurance company that they have reached their benefit limit; or
  • They are denied insurance coverage because their medical records reveal a pre-existing condition they do not have.

More information on identity theft is available from the Consumer Protection Bureau of the Division of Consumer Affairs.