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Blue Cross Blue Shield works to protect privacy

From Brad Wilson, president and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, in response to “Handling of Blue Cross clients’ data in question” (July 14):

Our primary job is to protect our customers. This mission goes beyond paying claims and providing access to quality health care. It also includes keeping our customers’ personal and health information safe and secure. This is a responsibility we take seriously. We make it a priority every day and have an outstanding record as confirmed by numerous external audits.

The News & Observer article that was also published in the Charlotte Observer misrepresented and in some cases misinterpreted the substantial protections we use to safeguard customer data. We provided The N&O with numerous on-the-record interviews and access to top data security experts within our company.

These are the facts we shared with you:

• Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina goes beyond the requirements of federal and state laws and guidelines to protect our customers’ health information.

• BCBSNC must collect and use certain data to help us enroll customers and process claims correctly. Our use of protected health data complies with laws, regulations and our own high standards.

• We exceed industry standards by using multiple layers of data security to protect our customers’ personal information from accidental, unauthorized or illegal access or transfer.

• Our process for vetting and testing our systems, technology, software and data security measures is thorough and rigorous.

• Multiple audits consistently find that BCBSNC meets or exceeds industry standards when it comes to customer data security.

• Each organization we do business with must comply with the same strict laws and requirements that we do. These organizations are also subject to penalties under federal and state law, as well as fines and sanctions.

Health insurance is a complex business. It depends on collecting and analyzing hundreds of data points from your doctors, your employers, your pharmacies and others. Of course we share information when necessary. But when we do, we use a highly secure process, including data encryption, and place strict limits on who can see the data.

Our customers have my personal commitment that we will remain as dedicated as ever to protecting the information they’ve entrusted to us.

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