Each year, a higher percentage of Americans fall victim to a terrible act – something known as medical identity theft. In fact, in 2014 alone, it was estimated that more than 2.3 million adult Americans became victims and became entangled in a messy web of fraudulent bills and ruined medical records. The sad fact of the matter is this: 30% of victims have no idea that the crime even occurred and that their information was stolen right from under them. Victims will end up paying thousands of dollars in fees and feel that their privacy was invaded for years to come. There are many ways that health care providers are encouraging others to become aware of the realities of medical identity theft. In California, specific actions are being taken on a whole new level due to the rise in these thefts. For instance, health care providers are urged to educate staff and patients about medical theft, implement technology that can detect fraud, and make prompt corrections when fraud is actually detected. However, you may have questions about this growing trend. For instance, what is medical identity theft? And best of all, how will it affect you?!
What is it and how is it detected?
Medical identity theft is most prevalent when a thief decides that they are going to obtain your information for their own benefit. They may use your name or even your health insurance numbers to see a physician or get prescription drugs. But what happens when the thief’s health information is mixed with your own? Your credit report may be affected because of this and, in the end, you could lose much more. This is why it is of so much importance to read your medical and insurance statements regularly and completely as well as constantly checking copies of your medical records. You will be able to detect the warning signs of identity theft. Always check specific things such as the name of the provider, the date of service, and what service was provided. If you see a mistake, you should always contact your health care provider to report a problem. Other signs of theft include a bill for services you never received, a call from a debt collector about a bill you never owed, medical conditions that are listed but that you do not have, and a notice from your health plan saying that you reached your benefit limit.
How do you correctly protect your medical information?
If somebody is offering you “free” health services or products, it is almost always a scam – especially if they require you to provide your health plan ID number. Many medical identity theft cases occur because somebody pretends to work for an insurance company or doctor’s office and try to retrieve information. You should never share medical or insurance information by phone or email unless you have made the specific phone call. You should also keep your information in a private place so that nobody can get a hold of it. Have you fallen victim to medical identity theft? Have you received a hefty bill because of this and lost out on many benefits? Then you may have a case. You should have an attorney on your side that you can trust, which is why you should call The Law Office of Peter Blair today to find out what options you have!