Here in Nebraska, we have very highly trained first responders and excellent emergency medical teams at area hospitals. But what would happen if you were unconscious, rushed to a local hospital, the doctor looked over your medical records on file with the hospital and they ordered a medication that you were actually allergic to? You are then left fighting for your life because another person has actually stolen your medical identity and changed your medical records.
Annually over 2 million Americans are victimized by medical identity theft! On average medical identity theft costs victims over $22,000 and require slightly over a year to resolve.
So imagine that you survive the above scenario at the hospital and you are released. You then have to spend over $22,000 and a year to restore your medical identity.
Here are some tips and things to look for in regards to medical identity theft:
• Bills for medical service you didn’t receive
• You get a call from a medical collector about a medical debt the you don’t owe
• Possible medical collections on your credit report that you don’t recognize
• You are denied insurance because your medical records show a condition you don’t have
In 2011 there were over 200 data breaches in the healthcare industry affecting more than 7 million people. Even though you have safeguards in place for your personal health information (PHI), it could still possibly be at risk.
If you suspect you’re a victim of medical identity theft, ask for an explanation of benefits from your health insurer. If you identify treatments you never received, notify your insurer and all medical providers. Request copies of your medical records from any medical facility you have visited and also request copies from all medical facilities on your explanation of benefits.
You need to ensure that when you offer your medical or personal information you know how that company is protecting that information. Make certain that when you give personal medical information over the phone that you know the company. Remember that medical identity thieves may pose as employees of insurance companies, doctors’ offices, pharmacies and even government agencies.
No one is going to treat your personal information the same way that you do! Make sure that you protect it!
For information on how you can protect your identity, please contact Ben at (402) 405-0438.
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