A dental benefits company for TennCare said a laptop computer missing since March contained the names and Social Security numbers of about 10,500 Tennesseans.
DentaQuest, a benefits manager for TennCare and, to a lesser extent, CoverKids, said Wednesday the company learned on April 1, that a car belonging to one of its contractors was stolen in Chicago on March 20 with the laptop inside.
According to a company release, the computer contained a database of information for about 76,000 clients, but most of it wasn’t sensitive in nature.
The first names, last names and Social Security numbers, however, of about 21,000 individuals were included on the laptop. That number included confidential information on 10,500 Tennesseans.
An attorney for DentaQuest said the company notified its clients on April 9, but HIPPA allows for 60 days before customers must be notified. During that time, the attorney said, DentaQuest was gathering information to notify those affected.
In its release, DentaQuest said there was no evidence the information was improperly accessed or misused, but it would mail notifications to those affected starting Monday, June 14.
According to the company, those mailings would include what information was disclosed and information on how to sign up for one year of free identity theft monitoring.
DentaQuest also established a dedicated call center Wednesday afternoon to answer questions from those affected. The center’s hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central time Monday through Friday, and the number to call is 1-877-309-0021.
The loss of TennCare patients’ information is the latest in a string of data breaches involving government agencies.
In late 2007, a pair of laptops were stolen from the Metro Election Commission. The computers contained the Social Security numbers of every registered voter in Davidson County, and in April 2009 the names, addresses and Social Security numbers of every student registered at Metro Nashville Public Schools were unintentionally put on an web server that was not secure. The information was searchable on Google for three months before the error was discovered.