Ohio Health Insurer Investigates Missing Data

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Eleven computer disks containing personal information on thousands of Ohio retirees are missing and are believed to be somewhere in the US Postal Service, Medical Mutual of Ohio announced today.

The disks contain member data for five retiree groups, which include the School Employee Retirement System (SERS) and its employees, the State Teachers Retirements System (STRS), Ohio Police and Fire Fund and the Ohio Highway Patrol Retirement System. Upwards of 36,000 members may be potentially affected, the company said.

The Cleveland-based health insurer said it announced the potential loss and investigation today in order to notify retiree members in the quickest way possible.

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Medical Mutual said it was notified by the retiree systems when the disks failed to arrive at their Columbus offices. The disks were contained in packages routinely mailed monthly by Medical Mutual for claims reconciliation purposes to the affected parties' central offices in Columbus from the health insurer's Columbus offices.

Jared Chaney, Medical Mutual chief communications officer and executive vice president, said the company notified the US Postal Service as soon as it discovered the disks did not reach their destination and the Postal Service launched an investigation.

"We still believe the disks are somewhere in the postal system and we are doing everything in our power to help locate the missing disks," Chaney said. "We are confident that we will locate them. We ask Ohio Retirement System (ORS) members not be alarmed. Our investigation, so far, indicates that insufficient postage was placed on the envelopes, therefore we believe they are likely to still be safe within the postal system," he added.

While the investigation continues, Chaney said Medical Mutual is taking stringent measures to ensure the security of potentially affected customers. "If the disks are not located, Medical Mutual has a customer protection plan in place and we are ready to provide credit monitoring services, free credit reports, and a hotline to answer our customers' questions and help with resolving potential fraud," said Chaney.

Chaney strongly emphasized that no data appears to have fallen into the wrong hands. "It is very important to stress that, to date and to the best of our knowledge, no personal information has been compromised in any way," he said. "Medical Mutual has always taken our customers' security matters very seriously and will continue to do so."

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