“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Just about anyone who has a mother has heard those words, and mama was right—especially when it comes to medical identity theft.
The time to protect yourself is now.
- Step 1: Be as cautious with your insurance cards as you are with your credit cards. Make a copy of your insurance card. Then, on the copy blacken out all information except the provider’s name and your own. If you carry a Medicare card use the same tactic by blackening out the last four digits of your Social Security number on the photocopy. Keep the original insurance card locked up safely at home.
- Step 2: Go over any statement of benefits you receive from the insurance company. If you find any claims for services you never received, contact your insurer immediately.
- Step 3: Don’t wait for a statement of benefits; be proactive. Identity thieves routinely have mail redirected to elude detection. Ask your insurance provider to send you an annual statement of benefits.
- Step 4: Check your credit report at least annually. If someone else is receiving medical care using your name, it’s a sure bet they’re not paying the bills for you, too. Sooner or later those bills will end up in the hands of a collections agency and on your credit report.
- Step 5: Routinely obtain copies of your medical records, and keep them locked away safely at home. Not only will having these records make it easier to detect any erroneous information that might have already been inserted, it will also make it easier to restore the correct information.