Most people think of identity theft as a financial threat but it can also have a large impact on personal healthcare.
Medical identity theft happens when someone else uses your personal information to obtain medical goods or services
and it accounts for about 3% of all identity theft. This type of breach affects consumers like you, health care providers
and insurance companies alike. Luckily, HIPAA, or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, is already in
place to provide consumers with the tools needed to correct any errors that may need to be rectified with your doctor’s
office or insurance provider.
Even with the help of regulations like HIPAA, the best defense against medical identity theft is prevention. There are
steps you can take to help safeguard your information and keep it out of the hands of identity thieves.
1. Always Have a Photo ID
Be sure to bring a photo ID with you to all doctor appointments along with your insurance and any necessary medical
documents. Write “ASK FOR ID” on the back of your insurance or Medicare cards just like you would on a credit card. This
triggers staff at the doctor’s office or hospital to compare the information on the medical documents to the name and photo
on your ID card, making it harder for someone else to use your information.
2. Share the Bare Minimum
It’s always a good practice to share as little personal data as you can during medical appointments and with insurance
companies. If a form requires your social security number, date of birth or driver’s license number, ask if that information
is absolutely necessary before divulging it. Be especially careful sharing information over the phone. If a care provider calls
you first and asks for secure information, ask them to provide a direct line for you to call back. A quick Google search of the
phone number and the word “scam” can help you ensure that it’s a legitimate situation.
3. Keep Information in a Safe Place
For convenience, most people will have their medical insurance card in their wallet and on their person at all times. But if
your wallet/purse is lost or stolen, that information could become compromised. It’s recommended that you only carry your
insurance identification when you need it – when you’re going to a doctor’s appointment or the hospital – and otherwise
keep it in a safe location in your home. If your identification information is ever lost or stolen, contact your provider or social
security office immediately.
4. Shred Outdated Information
Typically, you should only hold onto past medical information, forms and receipts for one year in case you need proof of
payment or coverage. After a full year, it’s recommended that you shred all old documents to keep them out of the wrong
5. Annually Review All Claims & Reports
It’s a good idea to perform a review at the end of each year, comparing your explanation of benefits (EOB) against all medical
claims the make sure everything lines up. You should also request a free annual report from your credit bureau to check for
any unexpected medical collections on your report.
At Henry Ford Village, we understand the importance of keeping your information secure. We host various learning seminars
on site that are focused on educating the audience about online etiquette, device tutorials, how to spot scams and how to
secure your personal information. On June 29th, Henry Ford Village will host a Life Key Event: Identity Theft Protection
featuring a fraud management expert as our key speaker to help guests understand more about identity theft and how to
If you’re interested in attending this or any event in the future, call us today at 877-669-0728 or schedule a tour here.