What is Medical Identity Theft?
Nearly 500,000 Americans have suffered medical identity theft, a crime that accounts for close to 10% of healthcare costs.
Medical identity theft is a crime that harms people and it is a crime that hides itself. Once begun, the harmful effects of this crime can linger in the lives of it’s victims for years or even decades.
Medical identity theft frequently results in erroneous entries being put into existing medical records, and can involve the creation of fictitious medical records in the victim’s name.
Because of the mechanics of how medical identity theft operates, it can often take individuals several years to discover they have been victims of this crime. Unfortunately, HIPAA does not help you here. HIPAA does not grant individuals an absolute right of access to their health care files. HIPAA does not grant any absolute rights of deletion to medical records, even if that information was entered due to activities related to fraud.
The worst thing about true medical identity theft or any type, whether committed by a group or an individual, is that changes based on the fraudulent activity are introduced to a victims’ health care record. These can be introduced to the legal health record, insurance records, electronic health records, and any other information that can be exchanged about patients.