UnitedHealthcare faces lawsuit over Rhode Island data breach

The ACLU of Rhode Island has filed a lawsuit against UnitedHealthcare of New England and the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority over a 2021 data breach that compromised the data of more than 20,000 former and current state employees, the Providence Journal reported Oct. 25. 

The proposed class-action suit seeks to obtain financial compensation for the victims of the August 2021 breach and "get answers to how this happened," ACLU of RI executive director Steven Brown told the news outlet. 

The lawsuit alleges the transit authority and UnitedHealthcare failed to properly secure employees' personal information and did not meet standards required by federal law, according to the report. The breach led to affected employees having to spend "a great deal of time and effort," canceling credit and debit cards, contacting banks, monitoring financial accounts, disputing unauthorized purchases and battling identity theft.

A UnitedHealthcare spokesperson said "protecting member privacy is a top priority, and we continue to work with multiple parties to understand the data breach that impacted" the transit authority's computer system.

"We were privileged to serve the State of Rhode Island employees and their families until December 2019 and will continue to cooperate with the office of the attorney general as they investigate this matter," the spokesperson said, according to the report. 

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