Although identity theft in and of itself is a heinous enough offence, medical identity theft is far worse. Not only does it make you financially vulnerable but medically as well. Analysts and investigators suggest that medical ID theft can leave people in a trauma where they lose a sense of their well-being and can last long after the case has been resolved.
Medical identity theft has been gaining ground over the last few years. Mostly because of the fact that medical data is increasingly being sold on the black market and is worth a lot more than financial records. This is also because most healthcare providers and pharmacies do not have fraud protection like ID verification or suspicious activity reporting.
Medical ID theft has more serious repercussions apart from financial damage. Fraudsters who steal your medical information and gain health benefits from it, add their treatments to your medical history. As a result, your doctor may end up misdiagnosing you. To protect yourself from such outcomes, there are some simple step you can take to prevent such frauds;
Keep a Check on Your Medical Records
Banks and financial institutes always advise you to check your bank and credit card statements, it is also important that you request your medical records from your insurance provider every year.
You need to thoroughly scan your medical history to check for inaccuracies and suspicious activity. If you see anything out of the ordinary care that you received during the year, you should alert the relevant authority.
Keep Your Insurance Card Safe
You should always take care to keep your insurance card safe as you do with your credit card or other ID documents. Same is the case with your medical data; always take care to keep your medical records safe and shred any documents that have your insurance number before throwing them away.
Discuss Data Protection and Access with Your Provider
More than anything, you must make sure that the insurance provider you use has a sufficient amount of cybersecurity measures in place. Before taking their services always discuss with them the security they have in place for the protection of your data and who can access it.
Go Through your EOB Details
EOB or Explanation of Benefits outlines all the medical benefits were paid for by the insurance company. People often tend to ignore them but it is important that you go through them at least once to make sure no out of the ordinary benefits were used through your insurance.
Take Care to Use Healthcare Providers with Fraud Protection
Healthcare providers including hospitals, pharmacies, labs, and PCPs do not normally have good enough fraud protection measures. One of the reasons medical identity theft is common is because it is easy to execute. Anyone having your insurance number and other details can gain medical benefits.
Banks and retailers generally use fraud protection in the form of ID verification or transaction monitoring. Same systems can be implemented by healthcare providers to ensure the person asking for medical assistance is the same whose information was given.