Weeks after data breach, Anthem Inc. acquires Florida’s Simply Healthcare

Bottles of antiretroviral drug Truvada.
Bottles of antiretroviral drug Truvada. Getty Images

On the heels of a data breach that put the personal information of millions of people at risk across the nation, healthcare corporation Anthem, Inc. announced Wednesday that it closed on its previously announced aquisition of Miami-based managed care company Simply Healthcare Holdings.

The breach occurred Feb. 4 when hackers stole databases dating back as far as 2004 with the personal information — including Social Security numbers, addresses and birth dates — of an estimated 80 million consumers nationwide.

In Florida, Anthem runs subsidiary Amerigroup, which had 359,595 policyholders as of Sept. 30, according to the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation. It is still unclear exactly how many Floridians’ information might have been compromised in the breach.

In an open letter on the AnthemFacts.com website, Anthem CEO Joseph Swedish said the breach was a “very sophisticated external Cyber attack.” The company has been working with the FBI to locate the hackers.

No medical information was stolen, said Anthem spokeswoman Denise Malecki. Anthem is in the process of mailing letters to all consumers who might have been affected by the breach.

The Simply Healthcare Holdings acquisition came after six months of negotiations with Anthem, but will not mean any changes to current Simply policy holders for some time, said Betsy Henao, senior director of corporate marketing at Simply Healthcare.

“For our members, this acquisition does not impact in any way on their member benefits,” Henao said. “It’s business as usual.”

Simply Healthcare Holdings includes Simply Healthcare, Better Health and Clear Health Alliance; combined, the plans cover about 177,000 Medicaid patients and 21,000 Medicare patients. Members of those plans were not affected by the data breach.

Integration of the two companies is not expected to be finalized for another 18 months, Henao said.

Earvin “Magic” Johnson will continue as spokesman for the company.

Current and former policy holders of an affected Anthem plan will have access to two years of identity theft repair and credit monitoring services from AllClear ID.

Follow @MHhealth for health news from South Florida and around the nation.

This story was produced in collaboration with Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation.

This story has been edited to clarify the relationships between Simply Healthcare Holidays, its affiliates and Earvin “Magic” Johnson.