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3 Unexpected Ways Medical ID Theft Can Harm Your Pocket

3 Unexpected Ways Medical ID Theft Can Harm Your Pocket

prevent medical ID theft

Learn more about the top three unexpected things you need to know to protect your medical identity.

The following guest post covering the impact of medical ID theft was submitted by Michael Rogers.

Are you the recent victim of medical ID theft? Do you know someone who recently discovered their identity had been stolen? If you or someone you know has experienced someone stealing your identity, then you know how unsettling and upsetting it can be. But what you might not realize in the moment is that having your medical ID stolen actually can result in major problems for your bank account. Read on to learn our top three unexpected things you need to know right now about protecting your medical ID and how a stolen identity can result in problems in your pocket. Knowing is power — and you can do something about it before too much damage is done. Read on:

Tip #1: Data Breaches Mean Bad News for You

Did you know that healthcare organizations admit that they don’t have enough security to withstand many cyberattacks? Data breaches to healthcare organizations are at a loss of millions and are under constant attack by malware. What does this mean for you? It means that your medical data is vulnerable, and when an online thief gets ahold of your Social Security number and other medical ID information — including passwords to your healthcare accounts — then you could begin to see not only your healthcare savings account empty out for procedures and products you didn’t authorize, but you also may see your bank account empty out. That’s because many of us use the same passwords over and over again. So don’t be surprised if someone steals your medical ID information and then uses that information to break into your bank and credit card accounts. Change your passwords regularly and encrypt your online sessions to protect yourself.

Tip #2: Unauthorized Procedures

Many of us have healthcare savings accounts. They are a great way to get tax-free cash into an account and to use that cash for doctor’s visits, surgeries, procedures and even products like HIV-testing kits and pharmaceuticals. When someone steals your medical ID information, however, that means they can get access to this account. They can then go online and begin purchasing items that qualify for the account. They also can begin the process of filing insurance claims for fraudulent surgeries and procedures.

Tip #3: Exhausted Medical Benefits

When you become the victim of medical ID theft, you may find that your insurance benefits are no longer available to you when you need them. In most of the cases ID theft victims start to panic and do not know where to start from. If you have any doubts, are any reasons to suspect being ID theft victim you should immediately contact either your local insurance provider or healthcare organization in order to minimize possible losses. Many victims don’t realize this until something happens — like they are rushed to the hospital — and they find their insurance has been denied. Online thieves will steal your information so that they can get the procedures they need in your name. This kind of fraud can take years to unravel — coming at a huge out-of-pocket expense to you. When you need to go to the hospital, you need to go. You can’t wait. And if you’re the victim of fraud, you’ll likely be paying tens of thousands of dollars of that you don’t have because your insurance has been denied.

Protect and Empower Now

Sometimes knowing how you could be vulnerable to a medical ID attack is the first step. When your online presence is threatened and someone steals your social security number or insurance premium information, then not only are you at a big financial risk for procedures and bills you shouldn’t have to pay for — but those breaches could lead to breaches in other areas of your finances, such as your bank account. As you move forward, remember to monitor your medical ID information and medical online activity regularly. The more you know about what is happening in your medical or insurance accounts online, the more quickly you will be able to see when something isn’t quite right. In addition, remember to change your passwords regularly, and don’t use the same passwords for multiple accounts. With an estimated 2.3 million Americans falling victim to medical ID theft in 2014, it’s possible that you also could experience this situation. So stay ahead of the game and protect your pocket with these three key tips.

Michael Rogers- is experienced Director of Operations, manager and educator from USInsuranceAgents.com. Michael is not only well-educated insurance professional, but also very interesting interlocutor, with deep knowledge of modern arts and sports.

use photo biometrics to identify patients and prevent medical errors

Are Children Eligible to Enroll in Biometric Patient ID Solutions?

protect a child's medical identity with biometric patient ID

A patient access representative takes a photo of a child using an iris recognition camera to protect her medical identity.

The rapid spread of using biometric patient ID solutions has helped to increase safety, reduce duplicate medical records, eliminate healthcare fraud, and strengthen patient data integrity. As most healthcare providers who implement biometrics for patient ID quickly realize – patient participation is the most important factor to ensure deployment success and realize the strongest return on investment.

Traditionally, we see the use of biometrics as a strong security solution to protect our own medical identities, but what about children? Are they eligible to enroll in a biometric patient ID platform and realize the same protection as adults? The short answer is: It depends on the biometric patient identification solution that you select.

Often overlooked as a key demographic that is just as susceptible to the perils of medical identity theft and inaccurate identification, protecting a child’s medical identity is just as, if not more important than protecting our own identities. On a recent podcast with Eva Velasquez, President and CEO of The Identity Theft Resource Center, I asked Eva how important it is to protect a child’s medical identity and what is the earliest age that a child can have their medical identity stolen? Here is what she said:

“Protecting a child’s medical identity is definitely a growing concern in healthcare. And, it isn’t only protecting their medical identity but their identity as a whole. People generally do not believe that (medical ID theft) is a crime that affects children, but I can tell you that we (Identity Theft Resource Center) handle and re mediate cases of child ID theft on a daily basis. It’s really about ensuring that a child’s personal information doesn’t make it into the hands of a thief. The crux of the problem with child medical ID theft is the time of discovery…the most common ways that people find out they are victims of ID theft is because they are trying to accomplish something and they hit a barrier.

If you think about it, children just don’t engage with the outside world the same way adults do – they aren’t out applying for credit, trying to get a driver’s license (before the age of 16) and go through background checks. All of these external things that pop up and make us take notice of our identities, they just don’t happen with children, so that’s where it becomes a parent’s responsibility. For parents, it’s all about taking as many proactive steps as you can. Some states allow you to freeze your child’s credit, and you can certainly always request your child’s medical records to go through them and ensure their accuracy. As a parent, you need to read the Explanation of Benefits (EOBs) after your child has a pediatric visit.”

I then asked Eva what the earliest age is that a child can have their medical identity stolen. She offered this response:

“I hate to say this because it almost sounds like fear mongering but it’s absolutely true – it can actually be before the child is born. If a criminal just decides to make up a social security number that hasn’t been issued yet and starts to use it, it doesn’t necessarily make it back to the social security administration office so your child is born, you go to get a social security number issued to them and you receive it but a criminal has already been using it – so child ID theft can actually happen before they are born.”

Clearly, there is a sense of urgency to ensure a child’s medical identity is protected from the moment they are born! The problem that some healthcare providers face who have implemented certain biometric hardware modalities for patient ID is that not all are eligible for children to enroll. Instead, some biometric patient ID solution providers recommend that a child not enroll until they reach a certain age, or until certain physiological attributes are mature enough to be recognized by a hardware device. This essentially excludes children from leveraging the identity protection and security advantages of using biometric patient ID for identification at the age where they may perhaps be most vulnerable to having their identities stolen. 

The key for any healthcare provider seeking to implement biometrics for patient ID is to deploy a solution that has the ability to capture a child’s unique biometric profile at the youngest age possible and then use that as their identity credential for the rest of their lives without the inconvenience of re-enrolling as a child matures or the security risks of not being eligible to enroll at all.

Protecting a child’s medical identity is among the many reasons that we recommend the use of photo biometrics for patient identification in healthcare. Children as young as 10 months old can enroll and since the iris is a human physiological attribute that forms at 10 months of age and remains static throughout our lifetimes, it represents a viable and stable credential for accurate identification. 

As more healthcare organizations around the world evaluate the use of biometrics for patient identification, it is critical that all possible patient options and scenarios are addressed to maximize return on investment and ensure that any patient, no matter how young or old, can take advantage of the benefits to protect their medical identities. 

For a full version of our podcast with Eva Velasquez, President and CEO of The Identity Theft Resource Center, click here.