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Data on Nationwide Insurance Customers Stolen

Computer records containing medical claim information, health data and Social Security numbers of 28,279 health insurance customers of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. were stolen from the office of a vendor in Massachusetts, the company said.

A lockbox that contained computer backup tapes with information on Nationwide Health Plan customers was taken during an Oct. 26 break-in at Concentra Preferred Systems in Weymouth, Mass., Columbus-based Nationwide said. In that theft, backup tapes of medical claim data of about 130,000 Aetna Inc. health insurance members also were taken, Aetna said in December.

Nationwide's health insurance unit hires Concentra to audit hospital-stay charges.

Nationwide, informed of the theft two weeks after it happened, mailed letters last week to customers, most of whom live in central Ohio. The company delayed customer notification while it determined the risk of identity theft, which it believes is low, spokesman Mike Switzer said.

The theft did not affect information on Nationwide's auto, life and homeowners insurance policyholders.

The likelihood of any personal information getting into the hands of thieves appears to be remote and there have been no claims of identity theft since the break-in, Concentra spokeswoman Vicki Bryant said Wednesday.

Nationwide said it would offer affected customers a free year of credit monitoring and identity theft insurance. Aetna said last month that it would make a similar offer.

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