[med-i-kuhl ahy-den-ti-tee theft] (noun)
When an individual steals or uses someone else’s personal information to submit fraudulent claims to Medicare and/or other health care insurers without that person’s authorization.
While this form of identity theft may be lesser known to the greater public, its consequences can as devastating if not more so than other forms of identity theft. Medical identity theft happens when someone illegally obtains and uses your Personally Identifiable Information (PII) like your name, medical insurance identity number, and/or Social Security number, to obtain or bill you for medical services or goods. Health care data contains information that can’t simply be cancelled as easily as fraudulent credit card charges due to its ties to your social security, past medical records and prescription accounts. It’s not simply scrubbing a charge off of a bill it is combing through personal private data that has been compromised and exploited.
The best protection against this is to monitor your medical and insurance statements regularly and completely as well as making yourself familiar with signs of theft. These include bills for medical services you did not receive, a notice saying you’ve reached your benefit limit on your health plan, medical collection notices on your credit report that you don’t recognize and many more. For more information on Medical Identity Theft, how to protect yourself and noticing the signs visit https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0171-medical-identity-theft and if you believe you are a victim of medical identity theft visit https://www.identitytheft.gov/ to issue a report.
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