A glimpse inside the $234 billion world of medical ID theft

By Rick Kam and Christine Arevalo, February 8, 2012, Government Health IT

Healthcare fraud is costing American taxpayers up to $234 billion annually, based on estimates from the FBI. It’s no wonder that a stolen medical identity has a $50 street value, according to the World Privacy Forum– whereas a stolen social security number, on the other hand, only sells for $1.

One form of healthcare fraud, known as medical identity theft, has its own staggering statistics: 1.42 million Americans were victims of medical identity theft in 2010, according to a 2011 study on patient data privacy and security by the Ponemon Institute. The report estimates the annual economic impact of medical identity theft to be $30.9 billion.

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