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WellPoint pays HHS $1.7 million for leaving information accessible over Internet

The managed care company WellPoint Inc. has agreed to pay the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services $1.7 million to settle potential violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) Privacy and Security Rules. OCR’s investigation indicated that WellPoint did not implement appropriate administrative and technical safeguards as required under the HIPAA Security Rule. The investigation indicated WellPoint did not: adequately implement policies and procedures for authorizing access to the on-line application database; perform an appropriate technical evaluation in response to a software upgrade to its information systems; or have technical safeguards in place to verify the person or entity seeking access to electronic protected health information maintained in its application database. As a result, the investigation indicated that WellPoint impermissibly disclosed the ePHI of 612,402 individuals by allowing access to the ePHI of such individuals maintained in the application database.