Paul Davis’ firm seeks Kansas, Missouri plaintiffs involved in Anthem data breach
by Andy Marso, KHI News Service
Paul Davis, a Lawrence attorney and former Democratic state representative who ran unsuccessfully for governor last year, is leading a class action lawsuit against one of the three health insurance companies that administer Kansas Medicaid.
Davis’ firm, Fagan Emert and Davis, LLC, is seeking plaintiffs from the pool of Medicaid recipients whose care is coordinated by Amerigroup, one of three companies that received state contracts to run Medicaid through a managed care program called KanCare.
Amerigroup’s parent company, Anthem, announced earlier this year that it was the victim of a massive cyberattack that compromised the personal information of millions of customers nationwide.
Davis said in a news release Monday that 165,000 people on KanCare were among them.
“Any data breach is serious, but this one is particularly dangerous because of the type of data stolen,” he said. “You can’t just change your birthdate, your medical history or your Social Security number like you can a credit card number.”
Davis’ firm filed suit in Douglas County District Court on behalf of Kansas plaintiffs and filed a separate suit in Missouri.
Dozens of similar lawsuits have been filed across the country alleging that Anthem failed to take proper precautions in protecting sensitive customer information.
The Kansas suit is unique in its connection to Medicaid members, although the state itself is not a defendant.
The news release states that seniors and children are “two significant portions of the KanCare population” and particularly vulnerable to identity theft because they are less able to “vigorously monitor their online identities” without assistance.
Davis said the named plaintiff, Julie Stanturf, is a KanCare member with a disability who lives in Wyandotte County. Though the suit is open to Kansans insured privately through Anthem as well, Davis said the impact on Medicaid recipients is what sets it apart.
“It’s a unique population,” Davis said Monday in a phone interview. “You’ve got a lot of low-income people, seniors, people who are disabled, so that does make the case a little bit unique.”
The Kansas suit seeks lifetime consumer credit protection and monitoring for those affected, as well as restitution for any damages due to identity theft. The news release stated that attorneys had “already received several reports of fraudulent tax returns being filed.”
Cindy Wakefield, vice president for corporate communications at Anthem, said the company does not comment on pending litigation, but she pushed back on the assertion that there’s evidence some customers were victims of fraud.
“To date, in working with the FBI, we have found no evidence that the cyber attackers have shared or sold any of our members’ data,” Wakefield said in an emailed statement, “and there is no evidence that fraud has occurred against our members, including fraudulent tax returns.”
Wakefield said current or former customers can visit www.AnthemFacts.com to access identity theft repair assistance, credit monitoring and child identity protection services.
The nonprofit KHI News Service is an editorially independent initiative of the Kansas Health Institute and a partner in the Heartland Health Monitor reporting collaboration. All stories and photos may be republished at no cost with proper attribution and a link back to KHI.org when a story is reposted online.
– See more at http://www.khi.org/news/article/former-candidate-for-governor-leads-kancare-related-lawsuit#sthash.Lv0fiPJX.dpuf