Medical identity theft is one of the fraud crimes that has increased over the past years in the United States. According to the Ponemon Institute 1.84 million people were victims of medical identity theft in 2013 with an estimated total cost of $28,6 billion.
It is illegal to use a person’s identity or personal health information to receive health care services. Some people intentionally commit fraud against “themselves” by allowing uninsured people to use their health insurance to obtain care. This is called “Robin Hood” crimes and it constituted 30% of medical ID theft in 2013.
There are different reasons for stealing someone else’s medical identity:
- obtain prescription drugs to sell them
- get free treatment
- falsify or inflate treatment claims
Medical identity theft can lead to serious damages such as loss of health coverage in case when false insurance claims get over the limits of your health policy that can leave you without medical emergency coverage. If the hospital bills in your name are not paid, this can ruin your credit. Thief’s treatment data can include wrong blood type or allergies so you can receive wrong treatment based on someone else’s medical information. Legal problems and higher health premiums are also the consequences that will affect you negatively.
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