Computers Stolen in Ohio with 72,000 Medicaid Subscribers’ Personal Info

June 6, 2006

Laptop computers with personal information on 72,000 Ohio Medicaid recipients were stolen from a private managed care agency in Ohio, according to an Associated Press account.

Officials with Buckeye Community Health Plan notified authorities that four computers were stolen from their Columbus office.

Two contained demographic information, including names, addresses and Social Security numbers for all of the agency’s 72,000 subscribers in Lucas, Summit and Stark counties, as well as medical information on 13,000 consumers in Stark County.

Buckeye Community Health Plan contracts with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services as a Medicaid service provider. Medicaid is a federal-state program that helps pay for health care for the needy, aged, blind and disabled, and for low-income families with children.

The company said it will mail out notices to all customers Monday, outlining steps they can take to protect themselves against identity theft.

Accessing the computers requires a password, but the files themselves are not password protected, said Jon Allen, a spokesman with Job and Family Services.

Robert Schenk, a spokesman with Buckeye Community Health Plan, said the company believes the thieves wanted the computers, not the information they contained. The company plans to review its security procedures, he said.

Security cameras captured photos of a suspect, and Columbus police are investigating.

“We’ll be working with the office management because it was obviously someone that had access to the facility,” Schenk said.

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