Posted on October 20th, 2010 No comments
A Texas woman's 15-year prison sentence for stealing hospital patient information underscores a continued upswing in medical identity theft cases.
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Texas insider sentenced to 15 years for medical ID theft
Posted on August 11th, 2009 No comments
Some illegal immigrants have used stolen Social Security numbers to qualify for health programs — a form of medical identity theft increasingly on hospital radars.
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Debate heats up on healthcare for illegal immigrants
Posted on April 21st, 2008 No comments
Been breached? If you know—or even suspect—that your medical identity has been stolen, take these steps now.
• Get a copy of your medical records from healthcare providers and review them to make sure they’re consistent with treatment you’ve received.
• Ask your insurer for copies of all “Explanation of Benefits” statements for the past year. (You may be able to get them online.) Review these for accuracy, too.
• Get a free copy of your credit report from one of the three credit bureaus. (Through AnnualCreditReport.com, you can obtain a free report once a year from each of the three companies.) Sometimes collection notices for unpaid bills alert victims to theft.
• File a police report if you’re a victim. It may encourage providers and your insurer to correct your records promptly.
For a more detailed description of actions you can take, the World Privacy Forum offers these tips.
Posted on April 17th, 2008 No comments
If identity thieves were to disregard your financial accounts and instead target your medical information, your first thought might well be, “Take my medical identity. Please.” What nut would want your high cholesterol, trick knee, and family history of Alzheimer’s? The answer is simple: one without health insurance who needs surgery or prescription drugs, or someone who sees a medical ID as the open sesame that will allow him or her to collect millions in false medical claims. These thieves don’t actually want your medical ailments, of course, but by pretending to be you they can get what they’re really after. Untangling the mess is hard: Unlike financial identity theft, there’s no straightforward process for challenging false medical claims or correcting inaccurate medical records. For victims, the result can be thousands in unpaid charges, damaged credit, and bogus, possibly dangerous details cluttering up their medical records for years to come.(Getty Images)
Medical identity theft currently accounts for just 3 percent of identity theft crimes, or 249,000 of the estimated 8.3 million people who had their identities lifted in 2005, according to the Federal Trade Commission. But as the push toward electronic medical records gains momentum, privacy experts worry those numbers may grow substantially. They’re concerned that as doctors and hospitals switch from paper records to EMRs, as they’re called, it may become easier for people to gain unauthorized access to sensitive patient information on a large scale. In addition, Microsoft, Revolution Health, and, just this week, Google have announced they’re developing services that will allow consumers to store their health information online. Consumers may not even know their records have been compromised. In January, a new law took effect in California that requires providers to let consumers know if their medical information has been “breached.” But only a handful of other states spell out notification requirements regarding unauthorized release of patient medical data. In contrast, most states have so-called breach laws that address accidental disclosures of financial information; these may also apply to medical data in certain instances. This month, Democratic Reps. Ed Markey of Massachusetts and Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, with support from several privacy groups and Microsoft, introduced a bill that would strengthen safeguards protecting access to consumers’ medical information and make it a federal requirement to notify patients if their healthcare data get exposed.