A new survey shows that there are very few people out there who actually know what medical identity theft is – or how drastically it can affect you and your health.
Nationwide Insurance sponsored the survey, which was conducted by Harris Interactive. The findings showed that only one in six insured adults know what medical identity theft is, and could accurately define it.
A stolen medical identity fetches about $50 on the black market – while by comparison, a stolen Social Security number sells for about $1. Most people are aware they need to protect their Social Security number; but few are aware of or as careful about their medical information.
Medical identity theft is when a thief steals someone's medical information in order to obtain medical services himself. While on the surface this doesn't seem so bad, it can be catastrophic when it comes back to haunt the victim. The victim can be denied health care, insurance and even be in mortal danger if the thief's medical information becomes confused with the victim's – the victim could be given medication he is deathly allergic to or some other action with deadly consequences.
Protect your medical information by monitoring closely the explanation of benefits section on your insurance summary, request a list of benefits from your health insurer, and request a copy of your current medical files from each of your health care providers. You should also keep a close eye on your credit reports.