Friday, September 4, 2009

Medical Identity Theft is on the Rise

According to the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC), medical identity theft is on the rise as health insurance fraud becomes more common. NetworkWorld reports that, according to an ITRC study of 2008 identity theft victims, 67 percent had been charged for medical procedures they hadn't received and 11 percent were denied health or life insurance for unexplained reasons--possibly because of incorrect information resulting from fraudulent insurance claims. The NetworkWorld article includes a summary of the worst medical data breach incidents from 2009, including: Virginia Department of Health Professions hack (8 million+); Peninsula Orthopaedic Associates robbery (100K) and Moore's Cancer Center hack (30K).Full Story

Most companies hold personal medical information on their staff for purposes of health insurance, incident reports, cafeteria plans, and so forth. It was only about two years ago that there was a general concensus among professionals that medical identity theft was largely overstated despite warnings that it was largely underreported. Medical identity theft is by far the most difficult type of the crime due to far reaching implications. When medical information is used a lot of databases are automatically updated from insurance claim databases such as MIB, to hospital and doctor records. Blood types and allergy histories can be incorrect in records. When medical procedures are performed this can also effect credit worthiness if bills go unpaid, suits are filed by creditors, criminal files can be opened, in short the misuse of medical information can result in the corruption of dozens of types of records.

What we see in medical database breaches such as the ones above is only part of the puzzle.
Everyone needs to consider the restoration of medical records and legal representation when evaluating identity theft services.

1 comment:

Sean D. Fleming said...

The MIB has a good webpage, http://www.mib.com/html/medical_id_theft.html
This explains the role of the MIB. While the MIB does not have many large employment insurance groups using its services such as blue cross blue shield and so on. They have customers that provide individual plans of insurance such as life and health. These people makeup a small percentage since most people get insurance from work, the government, or do not have a plan. There is a bogus scenario of a person to whom would come into a hospital to be treated while being unconscious and the hospital personnel looking their information up in the MIB database. The MIB database is not accessible in reverse and does not contain blood types, allergies etc. Each hospital and clinic have their own records unless the place of treatment is in a group of clinics or hospitals under what is called a ministry of hospitals. We are far from a time where your hospital records will be available from any hospital to another. This is due to Many political and computability issues of databases, etc. If you receive a bill reguardless to when you find out you can dispute it and it is the hospitals responsibility to prove it was your bill. After you sign a affidavit of id theft to them I would say you have no liability for the bills. If your credit is being affected or your being pursued for bills you can contact an attorney who will help you under consumer law.