Utah Legislators Not Doing Enough About Medicaid Record Breach

Apr 30, 2012

Organizations in Utah who serve residents receiving Medicaid and State Child Health Insurance are calling for Utah lawmakers to hold a special session to allocate money that would be used to help those whose personal information was stolen when a state computer system was hacked.

Judi Hilman is with the Utah Health Policy Project. She says the state is not doing enough to help the more than 800,000 victims:

"First of all, 10,000 - 15,000 of the 280,000 who got the letter to sign up for the credit monitoring have actually signed up so far. So that's an indicator of how many people are actually able to manage this. They should have signed up immediately."

Hilman says the letter was written at a 12th grade level, which may be the reason why people haven't signed up for help yet. (Read the actual letter sent). Undereducated families or people who don't have English as their first language may not have understood the content of the letter. There is no other explanation for why the victims haven't taken advantage of the help offered.

The entire system has been complicated. After the letter went out, the website was down for several days, so it was impossible to sign up. And certain personal information that's required to get into the system may be limiting factors for some people. For instance if they don't have the right form of I.D.

Hilman's request is for money for public service announcements and other means of cleaning up the mess:

"Because of this breach, we need a marketing budget. We need to go back to the legislature in a special session and get an appropriation, an amount of money that can be used to correct the image and rebuild trust in these programs."

The lack of outrage from Utah legislators is disheartening to the Utah Health Policy Project and other groups involved. Hilman wants the leaders in the legislator to have the initiative to call a special session. "I don't need to hound them for that. They should do that themselves."

The Utah Health Policy Project is one of the several groups participating in a community forum to discuss the breech with Department of Health and Medicaid directors that will take place Wednesday at 4:00 at the Salt Lake City Department of Health.

If you were affected by the Medicaid breach, read UHPP's recommendations for what to do next.