Medical Identity Theft Poisoning the Healthcare Ecosystem, New Ponemon Study Reveals
Article on September 12, 2013
Hybrid cars. Low-VOC paint. Organic foods. By reducing toxins and pollutants, Americans are committed to a healthier environment. But one little-known contaminant endangering our health is medical identity theft, according to the 2013 Survey on Medical Identity Theft conducted by Ponemon Institute and sponsored by the Medical Identity Fraud Alliance (MIFA), with support from ID Experts.
Medical identity theft occurs when someone uses an individual’s name and personal identity to fraudulently receive medical services, prescription drugs and/or goods, including attempts to commit fraudulent billing. With victims paying $12.3 billion in out-of-pocket costs incurred by medical identity theft, this crime has become a national healthcare issue with life-threatening and financial consequences. It is tainting the healthcare ecosystem, much like poisoning the town’s water supply. Everyone will be affected.
However, unlike lead in the water supply or a hole in the ozone layer, the 2013 Survey on Medical Identity Theftfinds that consumers are unaware of the seriousness and dangers of medical identity theft. In fact, they often share their medical identification with family members or friends, making medical identity theft a family affair. The result? Life-threatening consequences for an estimated 1.84 million victims in the U.S.
The 2013 Survey on Medical Identity Theftreveals other disturbing trends:
The Solution Is Us
Factors such as the Affordable Care Act and the increased use of electronic health records (EHRs) are fueling the size and complexity of medical identity theft. Healthcare organizations cannot solve the problem alone. It will take a united effort, such as the Medical Identity Fraud Alliance, to research the problem, develop best practices, and empower individuals to be the first line of defense in protecting their PHI.
The complete 2013 Survey on Medical Identity Theft is available at http://medidfraud.org/2013-survey-on-medical-identity-theft.