Protect Yourself from Medical Identity Theft
Medical identity theft is on the rise as thieves are using stolen personal data to acquire medical assistance, prescriptions drugs, and surgeries.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) enforces the rights to medical privacy and says who has access to a patient’s medical records. You should always have access to your own medical records and it is important to always keep an updated copy. Checking your medical records annually can help you stay aware that your personal information is not being used to obtain illegal medical assistance.
As a patient, always question if handing out your social security number or submitting a copy of your photo ID is necessary in a medical facility. This can prevent your personal data from being stolen along with medical information. Also if you ever have any of your personal information stolen, such as a driver’s license, health insurance card, credit cards or social security card, you should file police report. Filing a police report can help you if you are a victim of medical identity theft in the future. If your health insurance card is stolen, you can contact your provider and request a new ID number to help prevent fraud.
There are clues that can indicate if you are a victim of medical identity theft. Mysterious medical bills for services you did not acquire and calls from debt collectors for failure to pay for medical services are two of the most common warnings you are a victim. Checking your credit report and discovering unauthorized collection accounts is also a clue. If you are notified that you have reached your limit on your health insurance when you know you have not, you should contact your health provider for your medical records to verify why.
If you discover you are a victim of medical identity theft you should file a police report, file an identity theft report with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and contact your health insurance provider and request a copy of your medical records. If you are denied access to your medical records send a written request to your provider. If still denied access you can file a report for violation of privacy laws at the Office for Civil Rights.
Similar to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), you can send a letter requesting to your health insurance provider asking for fraudulent information to be corrected. Having false and wrong information on your medical records can affect how you are treated by a medical professional in the future. If the health provider fails to comply and remove the wrong records, you can contact an attorney at Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A. at (614)944-5219 for legal assistance.