Health insurers are increasingly becoming the subject of data breaches. In 2016 alone, three major US health insurers fell prey to hacking. The medical and health sector has accounted for the highest hackings of any industry.
While data breaches in major retailers are common, people generally do not associate identify theft and data breach with medical and health organizations. The consequences of medical identity fraud can range from financial to health insurance. Medical records contain payment and billing data. This leaves the credit card exposed too.
Clean Bill of Health? Scammers Plot Otherwise!
Credit card information contains social security number and information that could permit the fraudster to obtain medical services under the identity of the victim. If the perpetrator’s medical records differ from the victims, incorrect medical transfusions may also occur. Stolen patient data can prove detrimental whether health care employees lose a device or have one stolen. Organizations in the healthcare industry such as hospitals and business associates protect and manage their data under cyber attack. 91% of health care organizations have a single data breach in the past two years in the United States. Because the Affordable Care Act in 2010 digitized health records, medical records are sensitive to data hacking from identity thieves and cyber criminals.
Other sectors such as financial services and retailers have protected their data too. But there have been causes of identity thieving in these sectors as well. Health care data is less well protected so it is more liable to insecure storage and unscrupulous criminals. Moreover, healthcare data commands a higher price on the black market. The health records are easily available, worth more and less well protected, making them easy targets for identity thieves. Cybercriminals have found new ways to profit from medical data and selling such information to uninsured needing care. Medicare and Medicaid numbers can be used to bill the government and create financial liabilities for you, so reporting identity fraud is a must. Fraud can also be carried out for medication and this is why reporting identity fraud is essential. Hackers have also started targeting the health industry.
How to Protect Yourself: Reporting Identity fraud
#1 Review Medical Records for Accuracy
Ensure that all the information describes your medical history and does not move away from accuracy with respect to any aspect, whether it is the medication you’re on, the allergies you suffer or your blood type. If your health information has been mixed with someone else’s, report the medical fraud at once. Reporting identity fraud can save your life in such circumstances and not just money.
#2 Check Your Benefits
Most EOBs say they are not bills. But you should be clear whether your benefits record clearly states the services you received. If you see some unverified entries or indications that someone else is using your health insurance, reporting identity fraud can save you a lot of trouble and pecuniary losses too.
#3 Do Not Part With Private Details
From your social security number to your date of birth and other data, avoid providing these on social media sites because they can be lifted for medical insurance by fraudsters. Medical identity fraud is becoming increasingly common. But you can take these measures and ensure you do not fall prey to them.
#4 Monitor Credit Continuously
Obtaining a free credit report from major credit bureaus can keep you safe too. Numerous companies even offer identity fraud protection services targeted around health care or health data. Check your credit reports to see if there are any problems. Detect medical identity fraud and report these to correct mistakes in your medical information, protect medical data and detect medical identity fraud. Reporting identity fraud can prove beneficial in more ways than one.
Signs of Medical Identity fraud
This becomes obvious when bills are received for medical services you did not get. Debt collection notice about medical debts you do not owe is another. Medical collection notices on credit report that were not recognized, a notice from the health plan indicating the benefit limit has been reached and denial of insurance on account of medical conditions you do not have are all characteristic signs of medical identity fraud.
Reporting identity fraud is the best action to take, if you want to avert financial and medical liabilities at a later date. This is what makes a difference to the medical hospital, company and insurer besides just you. Avoid the pitfalls of medical identity fraud and prevent damage to your physical and financial health.