Molina Healthcare Patient Portal Discovered to Have Exposed Patient Data

Earlier this month, security researcher Brian Krebs was alerted to a flaw in a patient portal used by True Health Group that allowed patients’ test results to be viewed by other patients. While patients were required to login to the patient portal before viewing their test results, a security flaw allowed then to also view other patients’ results.

Now, the Medicaid and Affordable Care Act Insurer Molina Healthcare is investigating a similar flaw in its patient portal that has allowed the sensitive medical information of patients to be accessed by unauthorized individuals. In the case of Molina Healthcare, patients’ medical claims could be accessed without authentication.

Brian Krebs contacted Molina Healthcare to alert the company to the flaw. An investigation was conducted and its patient portal was shut down while the issue was resolved.

It is unclear for how long the flaw existed, whether medical claims had been viewed by unauthorized individuals, and if so, how many patients had their privacy violated. Potentially, the flaw resulted in the exposure of all customers’ medical claims. Molina Healthcare serves 4.8 million individuals in 12 states and Puerto Rico.

The individuals who identified the flaw and reported the issue to Brian Krebs was able to demonstrate it was possible to access other patients’ names, addresses, birthdates, medical procedure codes, prescribed medications and other sensitive data related to health complaints. Anyone with a link to a medical claim could change a digit in the URL and view other individuals’ medical claims.

In contrast to the security flaw at True Health, Brian Krebs said anyone with a link to a medical claim would be able to access the URL without any authentication required. The link could be clicked and the medical claim could be viewed.

On Friday last week, Molina Healthcare issued a statement saying “We are in the process of conducting an internal investigation to determine the impact, if any, to our customers’ information and will provide any applicable notifications to customers and/or regulatory authorities.”

Molina Healthcare has also engaged the services of Mandiant to improve its system security. Molina Healthcare says the security vulnerability in the patient portal has now been remediated.

Author: Steve Alder has many years of experience as a journalist, and comes from a background in market research. He is a specialist on legal and regulatory affairs, and has several years of experience writing about HIPAA. Steve holds a B.Sc. from the University of Liverpool.