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Keeping watch on those who hold the public trust and money

Insurer that runs Georgia health plan lost hard drives with data on 950,000 individuals


Centene Corp., the parent company of Peach State Health Plan, said Monday that it is searching its offices for six hard drives that contain sensitive personal information for 950,000 people.

The hard drives the company is trying to find contain personal information of people who received lab services from 2009-2015. The information includes name, address, date of birth, social security number, member ID number and health information, the company said.

The St. Louis-based company's website shows that it works with 4.8 million people in 23 states. Centene did not respond Tuesday to several inquiries from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution asking how many Georgians, if any, are among the 950,000 affected individuals.

Centene delivers managed care services to low-income Georgians enrolled in Medicaid and PeachCare for Kids through the company's Peach State Health Plan.

The Georgia Department of Community Health (DCH), which oversees the Medicaid and PeachCare programs, said it was informed of the missing hard drives on Monday.

But DCH said that Centene had not reported whether Georgia members are among those whose personal information is on the missing hard drives. As of December, the department said, there were 386,089 people enrolled in a Peach State plan.

"Centene takes the privacy and security of our members' information seriously," said Michael F. Neidorff, chairman and CEO of Centene, in a news release. "While we don't believe this information has been used inappropriately, out of abundance of caution and in transparency, we are disclosing an ongoing search for the hard drives. The drives were a part of a data project using laboratory results to improve the health outcomes of our members."

"Consistent with our policies around communication and transparency, we are beginning the process of notifying all affected individuals and all appropriate regulatory agencies as we continue to search and investigate," said Neidorff.

Click here to read about Centene's involvement in Georgia politics. 


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About the Author

Carrie Teegardin is on the investigative team. She is a graduate of Duke University and has won numerous national journalism awards.