You know how important it is to maintain patient privacy—but you may not be aware of all of the new ways by which it might be stolen away from you.
Medical ID theft can occur in two ways: either from the inside with the involvement of employees or at the point of care where patients present themselves as being someone else so as to gain expensive treatments or drugs without having to pay for them, Ester Horowitz, CMC, CITRMS, CIISA says. The bad news is that often “the very people we trust the most are actually the ones committing the fraud and it could have been going on for years,” she warns.
Illicit cash: Although rare, when medical ID theft is an inside job, “it means that someone who works for a covered entity is taking the IDs and passing them or using them for money,” says Horowitz. “The street value of an ID is about $100 per name which can be sold repeatedly.” If a patient steals a health insurance card or ID, it is generally for the purpose of gaining services and prescriptions. Scripts have a tremendous street value because hard drugs can be sold underground for a lot more than the cost of selling them via the pharmacy, she warns.
Medical IDs do not usually include health information — only name, address, social security number, date of birth, and health insurance ID number. You don’t need an address to commit ID theft, but you do need a date of birth with a name, Horowitz adds. “When you can take someone’s identity without permission, it is a crime even if nothing is done to use it in any way,” she clarifies.
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