What does medical identity theft involve? It is the use of physician identification numbers and/or patient identification numbers, both used to obtain payment and bill for services.
A conservative estimate is approximately 250,000 cases a year.
It's estimated by Blue Shield Blue Cross that $600 million per year is attributed to medical identity theft.
WOW! We as consumers are the ones that pick up the tab for this in higher medical costs and higher health insurance costs.
Changes in your medical history can be made; i.e, false information regarding procedures, medications, and allergies.
Legislation has put in penalties for such a crime, but there are no reporting mechanisms or inspections to make sure compliance is guaranteed.
There was a limit to how many names an employee could access, but no one realized that this employee was going way beyond the limit and accessing an unusual amount of names.
Millions can be made from this crime in only a period of a few months.
Identity thieves love this, and it makes the crime of medical identity theft so much easier for them. It's like handing your identity to them on a silver platter.
The hospital can usually confirm your information if a birth date, address, phone number, etc are given in place of the social security number.
Medical identity theft is also perpetrated by people that do not have medical insurance.
The person steals someone else's medical identity so they can receive medical care, prescriptions and some have even been able to have medical procedure's and operations.
The victim who has had this theft happen to him/her is then sent the bill.
What A Shock!
This is a nightmare for the victim and their life is sent into chaos.
It is harder to correct medical identity theft than regular identity theft.
The gall of some of these criminals who initiate medical identity theft is unimaginable.
A friend of mine, who works in the medical field, said that in some cases, a fake clinic, or even a real one, has been set up solely for the purpose of gaining access to personal information and medical records.
This is another form of "scam baiting" at it's worst.
You may not even know your medical information has been stolen until you are denied coverage because of a condition that is considered "pre-existing", a condition which you don't have.
To protect yourself against this crime, make sure and get a copy of your medical records.
Treat your medical records as you would your bank statements.
Federal law states you have the right to a copy of your medical records from a hospital or health care provider; so, if you think it's possible you've become a victim of medical identity theft, make sure you take advantage of your right to your medical records.
You also have the right to have incomplete or inaccurate information removed. In some cases, you may be charged a small fee for the copies.
If the hospital or your health care provider refuses to copy your files, you may file a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights, (HHS).
Hospitals usually have a patient advocate to help, and each state also provides rights.
You may find out more about your rights under federal law at the Department of Health and Human Services HHS website. Go to hhs.gov/ocr/hippa or phone 1-800-368-1019 or TTY: 1-800-537-7696.
When you take the required steps upfront to avoid getting involved with identity theft, you can rest assured that you and your family are safe.
Be sure to learn how you can Prevent Identity Theft Without Paying Monthly Fees…
Believe it! Medical identity theft is real and is big business. Protect yourself by becoming aware of all the facts and don't become the next victim of this dangerous scam.
See more medical identity theft information in the following: