Healthcare Data Breach Statistics

We have compiled healthcare data breach statistics from October 2009 when the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights first started publishing summaries of healthcare data breaches on its website until December 31, 2020

The healthcare data breach statistics below only include data breaches of 500 or more records as details of smaller breaches are not published by OCR. The breaches include closed cases and breaches still being investigated by OCR.

Our healthcare data breach statistics clearly show there has been an upward trend in data breaches over the past 10 years, with 2020 seeing more data breaches reported than any other year since records first started being published.

There have also been notable changes over the years in the main causes of breaches. The loss/theft of healthcare records and electronic protected health information dominated the breach reports between 2009 and 2015. Better policies and procedures and the use of encryption has helped reduce these easily preventable breaches. Our healthcare data breach statistics show the main causes of healthcare data breaches are now hacking/IT incidents, with unauthorized access/disclosure incidents also commonplace.

Healthcare Data Breaches by Year

Between 2009 and 2020, 3,705 healthcare data breaches of 500 or more records have been reported to the HHS’ Office for Civil Rights. Those breaches have resulted in the loss, theft, exposure, or impermissible disclosure of 268,189,693 healthcare records. That equates to more than 81.72% of the population of the United States. In 2018, healthcare data breaches of 500 or more records were being reported at a rate of around 1 per day. In December 2020, that rate had doubled. The average number of breaches per day for 2020 was 1.76.

Healthcare Data Breaches 2009-2020

Healthcare Records Exposed by Year

There has been a general upward trend in the number of records exposed each year, with a massive increase in 2015. 2015 was the worst year in history for breached healthcare records with more than 113.27 million records exposed, stolen, or impermissibly disclosed.  2015 was particularly bad due to three massive data breaches at health plans: Anthem Inc, Premera Blue Cross, and Excellus. Individuals Affected by Healthcare data breaches 2009-2020

Average/Median Healthcare Data Breach Size by Year

Average healthcare data breach size 2009-2020

 

Median Healthcare Data Breach Size 2009-2020

Largest Healthcare Data Breaches (2009-2020)

Rank Name of Covered Entity Year Covered Entity Type Individuals Affected Type of Breach
1 Anthem Inc. 2015 Health Plan 78,800,000 Hacking/IT Incident
2 American Medical Collection Agency 2019 Business Associate 26,059,725 Hacking/IT Incident
3 Premera Blue Cross 2015 Health Plan 11,000,000 Hacking/IT Incident
4 Excellus Health Plan, Inc. 2015 Health Plan 10,000,000 Hacking/IT Incident
5 Science Applications International Corporation 2011 Business Associate 4,900,000 Loss
6 University of California, Los Angeles Health 2015 Healthcare Provider 4,500,000 Hacking/IT Incident
7 Community Health Systems Professional Services Corporations 2014 Business Associate 4,500,000 Hacking/IT Incident
8 Advocate Medical Group 2013 Healthcare Provider 4,029,530 Theft
9 Medical Informatics Engineering 2015 Business Associate 3,900,000 Hacking/IT Incident
10 Banner Health 2016 Healthcare Provider 3,620,000 Hacking/IT Incident
11 Newkirk Products, Inc. 2016 Business Associate 3,466,120 Hacking/IT Incident
12 Trinity Health 2020 Business Associate 3,320,726 Hacking/IT Incident
13 Dominion Dental Services, Inc., Dominion National Insurance Company, and Dominion Dental Services USA, Inc. 2019 Health Plan 2,964,778 Hacking/IT Incident
14 AccuDoc Solutions, Inc. 2018 Business Associate 2,652,537 Hacking/IT Incident
15 21st Century Oncology 2016 Healthcare Provider 2,213,597 Hacking/IT Incident
16 Xerox State Healthcare 2014 Business Associate 2,000,000 Unauthorized Access/Disclosure
17 IBM 2011 Business Associate 1,900,000 Unknown
18 GRM Information Management Services 2011 Business Associate 1,700,000 Theft
19 Inmediata Health Group, Corp. 2019 Healthcare Clearing House 1,565,338 Unauthorized Access/Disclosure
20 UnityPoint Health 2018 Business Associate 1,421,107 Hacking/IT Incident
21 MEDNAX Services, Inc. 2020 Business Associate 1,290,670 Hacking/IT Incident
22 Employees Retirement System of Texas 2018 Health Plan 1,248,263 Unauthorized Access/Disclosure
23 AvMed, Inc. 2010 Health Plan 1,220,000 Theft
24 CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield 2015 Health Plan 1,100,000 Hacking/IT Incident
25 Montana Department of Public Health & Human Services 2014 Health Plan 1,062,509 Hacking/IT Incident

Healthcare Hacking Incidents by Year

Our healthcare data breach statistics show hacking is now the leading cause of healthcare data breaches, although it should be noted that healthcare organizations are now much better at detecting hacking incidents. The low number of hacking/IT incidents in the earlier years could be partially due to the failure to detected hacking incidents and malware infections. Many of the hacking incidents between 2014-2018 occurred many months, and in some cases years, before they were detected.

Healthcare hacking incidents 2009-2020

 

Records breached healthcare hacking incidents 2009-2020

 

Unauthorized Access/Disclosures by Year

As with hacking, healthcare organizations are getting better at detecting insider breaches and reporting those breaches to the Office for Civil Rights. These incidents consist of errors by employees, negligence, and acts by malicious insiders.

Unauthorized access/disclosure breaches 2009-2020

 

Records breached unauthorized access disclosure incidents 2009-2020

 

Loss/Theft of PHI and Unencrypted ePHI by Year

Our healthcare data breach statistics show HIPAA covered entities and business associates have got significantly better at protecting healthcare records with administrative, physical, and technical controls such as encryption, although unencrypted laptops and other electronic devices are still being left unsecured in vehicles and locations accessible by the public. Many of these theft/loss incidents involve paper records, which can equally result in the exposure of large amounts of patient information.

Healthcare loss/theft data breaches 2009-2020

 

Healthcare records breached loss theft incidents 2009-2020

Improper Disposal of PHI/ePHI by Year

Improper disposal of PHI - incidents 2009-2020

 

Healthcare records breached - improper disposal incidents 2009-2020

 

Breaches by Covered Entity Type

Year Healthcare Provider Health Plan Business Associate Healthcare Clearinghouse Total
2009 14 1 3 0 18
2010 134 21 44 0 199
2011 134 19 45 1 199
2012 155 23 40 1 219
2013 191 20 64 2 277
2014 196 41 77 0 314
2015 195 61 14 0 270
2016 256 51 22 0 329
2017 285 52 21 0 358
2018 273 53 42 0 368
2019 398 59 53 2 512
2020 497 70 73 2 642
Total 2,728 471 498 8 3,705

OCR Settlements and Fines for HIPAA Violations

The penalties for HIPAA violations can be severe. Multi-million-dollar fines are possible when violations have been allowed to persist for several years or when there is systemic noncompliance with the HIPAA Rules.

The penalty structure for HIPAA violations is detailed in the infographic below:

OCR Settlements and Fines Over the Years

Further information on HIPAA fines and settlements can be viewed on our HIPAA violation fines page, which details all HIPAA violation fines imposed by OCR between 2008 and 2020. As the graph below shows, HIPAA enforcement activity has steadily increased over the past 12 years. The major rise in HIPAA violation penalties in 2020 is largely due to a new drive by OCR to enforce compliance with the HIPAA Right of Access. 11 settlements were reached with healthcare providers in 2020 to resolve cases where patients were not given timely access to their medical records.

OCR penalties for HIPAA violations 2008-2020

 

How Much Has OCR Fined HIPAA Covered Entities and Business Associates?

In addition to an increase in fines and settlements, penalty amounts increased considerably between 2015 and 2018. In 2018, the largest ever financial penalty for HIPAA violations was paid by Anthem Inc to resolve potential violations of the HIPAA Security Rule that were discovered by OCR during the investigation of its 78.8 million record data breach in 2015. Anthem paid $16 million to settle the case. In 2020, Premera Blue Cross settled potential violations of the HIPAA Rules and paid a $6,850,000 penalty. and the large financial penalties have continued in 2021, with a $5,000,000 settlement agreed with Excellus Health Plan.

Total Settlemets/CMPs for HIPAA violations 2008-2020

 

Average penalty for a HIPAA violation 2009-2020

 

Median HIPAA penalty 2009-2020

It was expected that 2018 would see fewer fines for HIPAA covered entities than in the past two years due to HHS budget cuts, but that proved not to be the case. 2018 was a record breaking year for HIPAA fines and settlements, beating the previous record of $23,505,300 set in 2016 by 22%. OCR received payments totaling $28,683,400 in 2018 from HIPAA covered entities and business associates who had violated HIPAA Rules and 2020 saw a major increase in enforcement activity with 19 settlements.

OCR Penalties for HIPAA Violations

Year Covered Entity Amount Penalty Type
2021 Excellus Health Plan $5,100,000 Settlement
2021 Banner Health $200,000 Settlement
2020 Peter Wrobel, M.D., P.C., dba Elite Primary Care $36,000 Settlement
2020 University of Cincinnati Medical Center $65,000 Settlement
2020 Dr. Rajendra Bhayani $15,000 Settlement
2020 Riverside Psychiatric Medical Group $25,000 Settlement
2020 City of New Haven, CT $202,400 Settlement
2020 Aetna $1,000,000 Settlement
2020 NY Spine $100,000 Settlement
2020 Dignity Health, dba St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center $160,000 Settlement
2020 Premera Blue Cross $6,850,000 Settlement
2020 CHSPSC LLC $2,300,000 Settlement
2020 Athens Orthopedic Clinic PA $1,500,000 Settlement
2020 Housing Works, Inc. $38,000 Settlement
2020 All Inclusive Medical Services, Inc. $15,000 Settlement
2020 Beth Israel Lahey Health Behavioral Services $70,000 Settlement
2020 King MD $3,500 Settlement
2020 Wise Psychiatry, PC $10,000 Settlement
2020 Lifespan Health System Affiliated Covered Entity $1,040,000 Settlement
2020 Metropolitan Community Health Services dba Agape Health Services $25,000 Settlement
2020 Steven A. Porter, M.D $100,000 Settlement
2019 Jackson Health System $2,154,000 Civil Monetary Penalty
2019 Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services $1,600,000 Civil Monetary Penalty
2019 University of Rochester Medical Center $3,000,000 Settlement
2019 Touchstone Medical imaging $3,000,000 Settlement
2019 Sentara Hospitals $2,175,000 Settlement
2019 Medical Informatics Engineering $100,000 Settlement
2019 Korunda Medical, LLC $85,000 Settlement
2019 Bayfront Health St. Petersburg $85,000 Settlement
2019 West Georgia Ambulance $65,000 Settlement
2019 Elite Dental Associates $10,000 Settlement
2018 University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center $4,348,000 Civil Monetary Penalty
2018 Anthem Inc $16,000,000 Settlement
2018 Fresenius Medical Care North America $3,500,000 Settlement
2018 Massachusetts General Hospital $515,000 Settlement
2018 Brigham and Women’s Hospital $384,000 Settlement
2018 Boston Medical Center $100,000 Settlement
2018 Filefax, Inc. $100,000 Settlement
2017 Children’s Medical Center of Dallas $3,200,000 Civil Monetary Penalty
2017 Memorial Healthcare System $5,500,000 Settlement
2017 Cardionet $2,500,000 Settlement
2017 Memorial Hermann Health System $2,400,000 Settlement
2017 21st Century Oncology $2,300,000 Settlement
2017 MAPFRE Life Insurance Company of Puerto Rico $2,200,000 Settlement
2017 Presense Health $475,000 Settlement
2017 Metro Community Provider Network $400,000 Settlement
2017 St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center Inc. $387,000 Settlement
2017 The Center for Children’s Digestive Health $31,000 Settlement
2016 Lincare, Inc. $239,800 Civil Monetary Penalty
2016 Advocate Health Care Network $5,550,000 Settlement
2016 Feinstein Institute for Medical Research $3,900,000 Settlement
2016 University of Mississippi Medical Center $2,750,000 Settlement
2016 Oregon Health & Science University $2,700,000 Settlement
2016 New York Presbyterian Hospital $2,200,000 Settlement
2016 St. Joseph Health $2,140,500 Settlement
2016 North Memorial Health Care of Minnesota $1,550,000 Settlement
2016 Raleigh Orthopaedic Clinic, P.A. of North Carolina $750,000 Settlement
2016 University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass) $650,000 Settlement
2016 Catholic Health Care Services of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia $650,000 Settlement
2016 Care New England Health System $400,000 Settlement
2016 Complete P.T., Pool & Land Physical Therapy, Inc. $25,000 Settlement
2015 Triple S Management Corporation $3,500,000 Settlement
2015  Lahey Hospital and Medical Center $850,000 Settlement
2015 University of Washington Medicine $750,000 Settlement
2015 Cancer Care Group, P.C. $750,000 Settlement
2015 St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center $218,400 Settlement
2015 Cornell Prescription Pharmacy $125,000 Settlement
2014 New York and Presbyterian Hospital and Columbia University $4,800,000 Settlement
2014 Concentra Health Services $1,725,220 Settlement
2014 Parkview Health System, Inc. $800,000 Settlement
2014 QCA Health Plan, Inc., of Arkansas $250,000 Settlement
2014 Skagit County, Washington $215,000 Settlement
2014 Anchorage Community Mental Health Services $150,000 Settlement
2013 WellPoint $1,700,000 Settlement
2013 Affinity Health Plan, Inc. $1,215,780 Settlement
2013 Idaho State University $400,000 Settlement
2013 Shasta Regional Medical Center $275,000 Settlement
2013 Adult & Pediatric Dermatology, P.C. $150,000 Settlement
2012 Alaska DHSS $1,700,000 Settlement
2012 Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and Massachusetts Eye and Ear Associates, Inc. $1,500,000 Settlement
2012 Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee $1,500,000 Settlement
2012 Phoenix Cardiac Surgery $100,000 Settlement
2012 The Hospice of Northern Idaho $50,000 Settlement
2011 Cignet Health of Prince George’s County $4,300,000 Civil Monetary Penalty
2011 General Hospital Corp. & Massachusetts General Physicians Organization Inc. $1,000,000 Settlement
2011 University of California at Los Angeles Health System $865,500 Settlement
2010 Rite Aid Corporation $1,000,000 Settlement
2010 Management Services Organization Washington Inc. $35,000 Settlement
2009 CVS Pharmacy Inc. $2,250,000 Settlement
2008 Providence Health & Services $100,000 Settlement

State Attorneys General HIPAA Fines and Other Financial Penalties for Healthcare Organizations

State attorneys general can bring actions against HIPAA covered entities and their business associates for violations of the HIPAA Rules. Penalties range from $100 per HIPAA violation up to a maximum of $25,000 per violation category, per year.

Only a handful of U.S. states have imposed penalties for HIPAA violations; however, that changed in 2019 and 2020 when many state Attorneys General participated in multistate actions against HIPAA covered entities and business associates that experienced major data breaches and were found not to be in compliance with the HIPAA Security Rule.

Some of the major fines issued by state attorneys general for HIPAA violations and equivalent violations of state laws are listed below.

Attorneys General HIPAA Fines

Year State Covered Entity Amount
2019 Multistate CHSPSC LLC $5,000,000
2019 Multistate Anthem Inc. $39.5 million
2019 California Anthem Inc. $8.7 million
2019 Multistate Premera Blue Cross $10,000,000
2019 Multistate Medical Informatics Engineering $900,000
2019 California Aetna $935,000
2018 Massachusetts McLean Hospital $75,000
2018 New Jersey EmblemHealth $100,000
2018 New Jersey Best Transcription Medical $200,000
2018 Connecticut Aetna $99,959
2018 New Jersey Aetna $365,211.59
2018 District of Columbia Aetna $175,000
2018 Massachusetts UMass Memorial Medical Group / UMass Memorial Medical Center $230,000
2018 New York Arc of Erie County $200,000
2018 New Jersey Virtua Medical Group $417,816
2018 New York EmblemHealth $575,000
2018 New York Aetna $1,150,000
2017 California Cottage Health System $2,000,000
2017 Massachusetts Multi-State Billing Services $100,000
2017 New Jersey Horizon Healthcare Services Inc., $1,100,000
2017 Vermont SAManage USA, Inc. $264,000
2017 New York CoPilot Provider Support Services, Inc $130,000
2015 New York University of Rochester Medical Center $15,000
2015 Connecticut Hartford Hospital/ EMC Corporation $90,000
2014 Massachusetts Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island $150,000
2014 Massachusetts Boston Children’s Hospital $40,000
2014 Massachusetts Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center $100,000
2013 Massachusetts Goldthwait Associates $140,000
2012 MN Accretive Health $2,500,000
2012 Massachusetts South Shore Hospital $750,000
2011 Vermont Health Net Inc. $55,000
2011 Indiana WellPoint Inc. $100,000
2010 Connecticut Health Net Inc. $250,000