Officials with the South Carolina Health Insurance Pool say they are investigating the theft of a laptop that contained Social Security numbers and names of people participating in the state program, which provides insurance to people with pre-existing conditions.
The news was first reported by the web coding blogger @ChrisMeller and confirmed by the Associated Press on Sunday.
Meller, a web developer who says he lives in the Virgin Islands, said a Dec. 18 letter from SCHIP to its affected customers blames the problem on a stolen laptop. According to the letter, the computer was taken from a car belonging to an employee of Deloach & Williamson, an independent auditor contracted by the state agency.
The SCHIP investigation found that the laptop contained records for 3,432 policy holders and included Social Security Numbers, last name, first and middle initials, dates of service, and provider identification numbers. However, the investigation found no evidence that the sensitive information has been accessed.
SCHIP was created by the state legislature in 1989 to make health insurance coverage available to South Carolina residents who are either unable to obtain health insurance due to a pre-existing condition or whose premium exceeds 150% of the pool rate. While mandated by the state, the program is actually offered by Blue Cross Blue Shield.