Illinois Department of Insurance discloses privacy breach

SPRINGFIELD – Illinois insurance officials mistakenly allowed the Social Security numbers of an unknown number of health care providers to be posted publicly.

The Illinois Department of Insurance disclosed the privacy breach Friday in a news release. Department officials learned of it Monday after receiving a complaint. It's unclear how long the Social Security numbers were viewable.

The numbers were included in filings from Blue Cross Blue Shield, which Illinois provided to a website operated by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. The national association said Friday it's not aware of any previous disclosure of sensitive data occurring on its filings website.

State officials said they took immediate action to remove the information from the website. They are notifying the health care providers involved and reviewing state procedures to prevent similar breaches.