02 Mar Consumers Need to Be Aware of Medical Identity Theft
Identity theft is usually associated with financial transactions but it also happens in the context of medical care. Medical identity theft occurs when someone uses an individual’s personal identity to fraudulently receive medical service, prescription drugs and goods, including attempts to commit fraudulent billing.
Medical ID theft is a serious crime. Knowingly permitting a family member to use your personal information to obtain medical services is a form of fraud; and many people who have shared their medical privileges with family members don’t realize it can create inaccuracies in their permanent medical records, which can put their lives at risk.
Consumers are at increased risk of medical ID theft and face serious medical and financial consequences if their information is stolen. Here are some steps you can take to protect your personal information.
- Monitor your health records closely and address any errors quickly
- Share health insurance information only with trusted providers
- Monitor the explanation of benefits received from insurers
- Contact the insurer or provider about charges for care you did not receive, even when there is no money owed
- Maintain copies of your healthcare records
- Beware of “free” medical services. The lure of free services is used to obtain names and insurance information for use in fraudulent claim submissions
- Safeguard your insurance cards, explanation of benefits, and correspondence in the same way you would safeguard your credit cards.
- Monitor your credit reports with the nationwide credit reporting companies – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – to identify reports of medical debts.
Awareness is critical for timely detection of and thorough response to a medical identity theft incident.
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