July 11, 2012
Sure you may know that identity thieves who steal your personal information can use it to sign up for services and open credit accounts. But did you know that you could also be held responsible for their medical bills? That’s because thieves, posing as you, can go to the hospital and get any numbers of medical procedures done, as well as procure prescription drugs. Or, they could bill your insurance company for services they never received and then sit back and collect the payout checks. The thieves often leave behind tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills – of which you are ultimately held responsible.
The Federal Trade Commission stated that 249,000 people were the victims of “medical identity theft” in 2005. This may seem like a small number compared to the millions of identity theft victims, but that this crime could grow exponentially as more and more doctors turn to storing patients’ records electronically.
When an identity thief uses doctor or hospital services in your name, not only are you out a large sum of money, there is also damage done to your medical history, which could result in you not being approved for certain jobs, including some positions in the armed services – or it could even be a matter of life or death if you are on record as having medication allergies or other conditions that you do not have in actuality, which be detrimental to your treatment when you have a “real” medical problem.
Medical identity theft can be even more difficult to resolve than the traditional financial only variety, since there are often more parties involved. The best thing for you to do is to protect yourself from becoming a victim before it happens. You can work to do this by being careful with your medical information, such as your insurance card, and by guarding your Social Security number and never carrying your Social Security card in your wallet. Also, if you lose your health insurance card, contact your insurance provider and your doctors immediately, and ask to receive a new insurance card with a different account number if possible.
Additionally, just as you request your credit report once a year, you should request a copy of your medical records. Your access to this information is required due to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996’s Privacy Rule. Just contact any doctors you receive services from to request one. And pay close attention the Statements of Benefits that your insurance company sends you in the mail.
For further protection from medical identity theft and identity theft in general consider contacting a provider of identity theft protection. men breast augmentation can help protect you because they can monitor your information to detect fraudulent charges made to any of your accounts and notify you promptly before major damage can be done. Also, some identity theft insurance providers, such as extreme testosterone , will help you decipher your benefits statements to ensure that everything is on the up and up.