Medical Identity Theft…..We knew consumer awareness was lacking but WOW!
Article on June 28, 2012
We at ID Experts have been on a campaign to try to help educate consumers on the growing threat of Medical Identity Theft in the US. We know that most people don't really know what it is and, unfortunately, most people think of it as a potential financial loss issue instead of the serious health risk issue that it really is.
Just released poll conducted by Harris Interactive only 15% of insured U.S. adults said that they were either familiar or very familiar with the term “Medical Identity Theft.” That leaves 85% that really have no good concept of what it is and why it is important to protect yourself from it.
Fraudsters who steal (or purchase on the internet) your medical identity (SSN, unique medical insurance ID, Medicare/Medicaid ID) have the potential to permanently pollute your personal medical history. Your blood type can change, your pre-existing conditions, your allergies, your prescription history….everything. And with the growing acceptance of electronic health records where your records can be transmitted anywhere in the world, this is no longer just a problem at your local provider. Even if you discover the fraud, good luck trying to get the errors corrected. The providers are very reluctant to discuss the problem, citing HIPAA privacy regulations.
So what to do? Short term you can help by helping us organize the “Coalition to Mobilize Patients to Combat Healthcare Fraud.” Up until now, virtually all of the fraud fighting efforts have been left to the insurance companies, law enforcement, associations (like the National Healthcare Anti-Fraud Association-NHCAA), and some whistle-blowing efforts surrounding Medicare fraud.
This has got to change! Just like what occurred in the financial services industry many years ago where consumers were engaged to help identify and eliminate financial fraud, we have to mobilize consumers/patients to do the same in healthcare. We need to empower them with tools to help in this fight as well as educate them and their lawmakers on the scope of the problem.
We are in active discussions with a large number of organizations to make this happen, including healthcare payers, trade associations, law enforcement, consumer advocates, legislators, and companies with innovative solutions focused on the patient to help fight healthcare fraud and medical ID theft. Website for the coalition will be up soon, but in the meantime, if you are interested feel free to contact us here at HealthInfo@idexpertscorp.com.