Medical identity theft generally occurs when a thief uses your name and health insurance numbers. In most cases the criminal will use this information to see a doctor, file claims with your insurance provider, get prescription drugs or get other medical services.
The most concerning problem with medical identity theft is that when a thief’s health information is added to your records, your personal treatment may be impacted. In addition, your insurance rates could change and even your credit report may be affected.
If you feel someone else may have used your personal information for medical treatment, you should immediately order copies of your records and check for any discrepancies. It’s important to remember that you have the right to see all of your records and make sure you have all mistakes and discrepancies corrected. If a medical provider will not give you a copy of your medical records, you should contact the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights. All medical providers are required by law to provide you a copy of your medical records. Although remember in some cases, there may be a fee.
What to watch for
The most common way to detect if a thief has used your information for medical identity theft is by reviewing your insurance statements thoroughly. The provider name, the service performed and the date the service took place should all correspond with your personal medical history. If you see a mistake, contact your health plan and report the problem. In addition, if you receive any notices from third parties regarding your medical information that does not match your medical history such as a collection notice, bill for medical services or a denial for insurance due to a medical condition that you don’t have, you should take steps to confirm your are not the victim of medical identity theft.
Getting back your medical identity
It is up to you to correct any mistakes in your medical records. If you come across a discrepancy with your records, you should immediately write to the medical provider in question and detail the information that is not accurate. Be sure to send a copy of any documents that are related to the discrepancy. Always keep the original documentation for your own records and send copies to others. Highlight in the document the areas of concern to better assist the person who reviews this information. In each case, you need to ask the provider to delete or modify any inaccurate information. To confirm receipt of the letter, it is best that you send it by certified mail and always ask for a Return Receipt.