Anthem hack could affect WKU employees

Trey Crumbie and ShelRogers

Thousands of former and current WKU employees could be affected by a national dilemma.

Anthem, the nation’s second-largest healthcare provider, is still processing what happened when it was hacked Wednesday. 

As many as 80 million customers could have their personal information stolen, including names, birthdays, medical IDs, social security numbers and employment information. 

Anthem has been WKU’s third party administrator of its self-insured Employee Health Plan since the beginning of 2003. The company informed WKU directly about the breach on Thursday. 

On Friday, Gordon Johnson, chief information technology officer, said it was unknown if  WKU was affected.

“At this point, we do not have confirmation from Anthem of exactly whose records are compromised,” Johnson said.

Around 4,600 former and current employees could be at risk.

Faculty senate chair Margaret Crowder said she hopes communication between Anthem and WKU will be open, and that detailed information about exactly what was compromised will be revealed. 

“This was not a breach of WKU’s system, but of data from a third-party,” Crowder said via email. “Unfortunately, just in the course of our daily lives, we all rely upon multiple corporate entities to take the appropriate precautions to keep our information safe and private.”

Gordon said once Anthem determines who could be affected by the breach, the company will send a physical letter in the mail that will give the individuals steps they can take to ensure their information isn’t further compromised, such as credit monitoring.

Friday, Johnson sent out an email warning faculty and staff about scam emails from those appearing to represent Anthem. The email stated not to click on any links within the email, despite their official-looking appearance, and that Anthem would be communicating with those who are affected through physical mail.

Johnson said he doesn’t want WKU employees and staff over alarmed.

“We’re maybe between four and five-thousand members in … an 80 million subscriber database,” he said. ” … Whether our members were actually affected is still to be determined.”

Students who obtained health insurance from WKU will not be affected as the administrator for the Student Health Insurance plan is UnitedHealthcare. Tony Glisson, Human Resources director, said the problem only relates to the employee health plan.

“We’re going to be staying in constant contact with Anthem,” Gordon said.

Gordon said there are still many things unknown about the data breach, such as how long Anthem’s investigation will take and when potentially affected members will receive the snail mail from the company.

Gordon said WKU will help pass on information, but it’s “largely and almost exclusively” Anthem’s responsibility to fix the problem.

Glisson said WKU will update faculty and staff as the Anthem investigation continues.

“The most important thing is to stay tuned,” Glisson said.