You may have heard about it in the news; medical identity theft is on the rise in terms of frequency and impact. Medical identity theft is a variation of identity theft where one’s personal information is fraudulently used to obtain medical services including treatment, healthcare products, or pharmaceuticals.
The Ponemon Institute recently released their Third Annual Survey on Medical Identity Theft, sponsored by Experian’s ProtectMyID. Dr. Ponemon reveals several of his key findings in these videos.
The consequences of medical identity theft can be staggering and severe. Incorrect medical information in your file could impact your insurance premiums or ability to obtain disability or life insurance. It could even compromise your health care.
Warning signs that you’ve been a victim of medical identity theft include: getting bills for medical treatments you didn’t receive, getting collection notices for medical bills you don’t owe, or having an insurance application or claim denied due to a condition you don’t have.
If you think you may have been a victim of medical identity theft, contact your health plan and insurance provider immediately. Begin by requesting a record of your medical benefits and care history and comparing their notes with the services you know to be true (this is a request you can make at any time). Once you can prove that medical identity theft has taken place, file a police report with as much information as you have. A police report can a valuable tool in disputing medical charges that you aren’t responsible for.
Also, now that you know your information has been compromised, be sure to check your bank and credit card statements and credit report for activity and accounts you don’t recognize. Unfortunately, once your information has been leaked, it’s impossible to be certain that it’s not in use. Being proactive about monitoring your explanation of benefits and overall identity is a good line of defense.