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Your Wallets Stolen, What’s next?

Your wallet is gone and you immediately call your credit card company to report your credit cards are missing (with their thousand dollar limits).  Did you also call your insurance company about your Medical ID (with its $1 million limit)?   Medical identity theft is now considered to be one of the fastest growing crimes in America, according to the Ponemon Institute, affecting 1.5 million Americas to the tune of $28.6 billion dollars!  Medical identity theft (MIT) shouldn’t be taken lightly. It can seriously impact your pocketbook, your health and your credit rating.

What is Medical Identity Theft?

Medical identity theft is when a thief uses your medical information to receive medical treatment, pharmaceutical services and claim coverage. Imagine California woman’s surprise when she received a $12,000 invoice on her healthcare plan statement for liposuction and didn’t have the thighs to show for it.

The average cost associated with the crime is $20,000 and victims may have to pay out-of-pocket expenses to have their health insurance and records restored. On top of the costs, a lot of time is spent dealing with ‘friendly insurance representatives’ to resolve false claims and possible denials on future claims.

Unfortunately, most MIT is not even noticed until a year or more after the fact. Consider the ramifications of medical treatments, surgeries, blood and other test being erroneously added to your medical history.  The very history your caregiver is going to use to determine future treatments. Scary.

Preventing Medical Identity Theft

While not completely avoidable, there are steps to take to prevent MIT, the most important being EARLY DETECTION.  If you don’t have a Personal Healthcare Portfolio ( then keep a log of your doctor visits, tests and prescription services. Thoroughly read your claim statements and cross check them with your log. Keep your claims and medical records in a safe place that can’t be accessed by others.  Be cautious about sharing your Social Security number on the phone and over the internet. Finally, shred your old documents. It’s not beneath a thief to go through your garbage.

If, unfortunately, you are a victim of MIT report it to the police and the Federal Trade Commission (which works to address and prevent consumer fraud). Obtain copies of your medical and health insurance records and scrutinize them for errors. Exercise your HIPAA right to correct errors in both your medical and billing records.

Most importantly, next time you lose your wallet, do yourself a favor, and call your insurance carrier immediately before your healthcare records take a hit.

For more information see:

Thanks for reading!

Healthcare Advocate

Rebecca Busch


adminYour Wallets Stolen, What’s next?

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