January 25 2019
Medical identity theft is when a person uses your personal information to obtain medical care or services. Commonly stolen personal information that is used includes your Social Security number, name, and medical insurance identity number. They use this information for prescriptions and to bill for other medical services. They can also use this information to obtain other benefits and even employment in some cases.
Healthcare data is constantly a target for hackers and identity thieves and with so many data breaches occurring, it can be hard to protect our personal data. So, what can we do to help reduce our risk of falling victim to medical identity theft?
Review Your Medical Statements
When you receive any kind of treatment, the health plan you have will typically send out a letter following the treatment explaining your benefits. This letter is called the Explanation of Benefits statement. If you have Medicare, then you may receive a Medicare Summary Notice.
Review these statements carefully to ensure that you are the one that received the treatments or prescriptions they detail. If not, immediately report any and all mistakes you find.
Review All Your Medical Records
Another way you can help protect your medical information from being stolen is to ensure that all your medical records at the doctor's office are accurate and up to date. Check to make sure that the blood type listed is accurate and all your preexisting conditions are listed. If you see something that is unfamiliar, report it to the doctor immediately.
Keep Your Sensitive Information Secure
Just like you wouldn't share the details of your financial accounts, the same applies to medical accounts including insurance and benefits information. Never disclose this kind of sensitive information over the phone or through email unless you can verify who you are speaking or corresponding with without any doubt.
Ask Questions of the Providers and Insurance Company
If you are ever unsure about something or you want to know what the medical office is doing to help safeguard your medical and other personal information, don't be afraid to ask them questions. Each provider should supply you with a free copy of the accounting of disclosures document each year.