Medical Identity Theft Rings a Bell at the Employer Healthcare Congress
By Jeremy Henley - Article on October 18, 2017
- Cyber Insurance
- ID Experts Services and Software
- Identity Theft and Fraud
I recently attended and presented at the Employer Healthcare & Benefits Congress (EHBC) in Los Angeles. I was impressed with the different types of organizations who share the latest developments in the employee benefits industry, from corporate health & well-being programs and the latest in healthcare reform, to trends in voluntary benefits and self-funded insurance.
This was the first time ID Experts has attended this event, and I wasn’t sure what to expect from the attendees or the exhibitors. This was truly an international event; businesses from all over Europe, Asia, and South America sent their employees to EHBC so they can learn about the latest and greatest trends in employee benefits. It seemed that every imaginable benefit company was present: discounted cable television, a flat and sparkling flavored water machine, an anti-obesity drug, DNA testing, group buying programs, and many more. Most of the exhibitors had a connection to a wellness program, while others showcased their patented technologies and drugs.
Regardless of the focus of their organization or where they came from, one thing was certain: every person I spoke with knew the importance of protecting their identity. Thanks to recent data breaches like Equifax, identity theft and identity protection is now an international subject. The conference goers already knew the value of identity protection services and wanted to know how they could get protected now and how their employer could help.
The other noticeable difference from recent events I’ve attended is the complexity of questions the attendees asked. In years past, people would know about the latest data breach and that they probably should do more research around identity protection … but that was all. Now they’re asking questions about specific components of identity protection products: “Do I get credit monitoring or just score tracking?”, “is fully-managed recovery included?”, “what bureau do you partner with?”, “do you provide the services or are you just another ‘white labeled’ product?” It’s clear that the size and sensitive nature of recent data breaches has led to more informed consumers.
Because of the event’s close ties to employee health and wellness, I presented on medical identity theft, a dangerous and growing form of identity theft. After my presentation, there was a significant interest in our patented medical monitoring technology, MIDAS. The idea of a polluted medical record and the havoc that can create was quickly understood by the EHBC audience.
The awareness level around all 9 types of identity theft is beginning to increase and individuals understand that their credit isn’t the only concern anymore – their physical health can now be impacted by new and lucrative types of identity theft, especially medical identity 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.
I honestly didn’t see this coming, but am very pleased to see it happen. Effective September 18, 2014, California has extended its stringent 5 day medical data breach notification requirement to 15 days. This is great news for clinics and healthcare facilities that are faced with the very stressful timing, discussions, and requirements that come from a data breach.