Historic HIPAA Fine Will Push Feds To Get Tougher

By Jeff Overley (February 20, 2014, 7:26 PM EST) -- Federal regulators who have largely avoided fining corporations for health privacy breaches will face pressure to get more muscular after a Puerto Rico watchdog this week walloped an insurance company with an unprecedented $7 million penalty for flouting the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, experts say.

The fine against Triple-S Salud Inc., which dominates Puerto Rico's health insurance market, dwarfed any previous financial discipline against HIPAA violators.

Triple-S admitted accidentally mailing out pamphlets with visible claim numbers to 70,000 Medicare Advantage customers, and said that once it reported the error, it was asked to hand over data about clients enrolled...

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