Protect yourself from medical identity theft
According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), in 2016 alone an estimated 26 million U.S. residents age 16 and older reported they were victims of identity theft.
What is medical identity theft?
"Identity theft" is the crime of taking someone else's personally identifiable information (PII) such as their name and Social Security number and using it without that person's knowledge to get something of value. "Medical identity theft" refers specifically to the use of someone's PII and/or medical insurance number to get, or to bill for, medical goods or services.
Examples of medical identity theft include:
- A person uses someone else's Priority Health membership card to get services from a doctor or hospital, or to get prescription drugs from a pharmacy
- A doctor or hospital uses someone's Priority Health ID number and their health care information to bill for services they didn't get
Who does medical identity theft hurt?
Medical identity theft can create many problems. When companies or Medicare pay for services for people who aren't paying premiums, costs go up for everyone.
Potential problems for our members include:
- If your medical history lists health problems that you do not have, your doctor might treat you with services or drugs that are wrong for you.
- Wrong information on your medical records could keep you from getting life insurance.
- You might get the wrong type of blood in an emergency if your records say you have a different blood type.
- You might be expected to pay medical bills that are not yours, and if you don't pay these bills, it could hurt your credit record.
Steps to take to protect yourself
Protecting yourself from medical identity theft is much easier than dealing with it once it's happened.
- Only share your personal information (Social Security number, date of birth, account numbers or health insurance information) with your doctor or other health care provider.
- Protect your Priority Health card from loss or theft the same way you protect your credit cards.
- Register your account here at priorityhealth.com so you can check your medical and prescription claims online.
- Once you log in to your account online, you can review your claims. If you see claims for services or drugs you didn't get, report it to Priority Health right away.
- Check your credit report once a year for free at www.annualcreditreport.com to make sure it's correct.
You may want to visit these websites for tips on protecting yourself from other forms of identity theft:
- The Federal Trade Commission identity theft website: www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft/
- The World Privacy Forum website: www.worldprivacyforum.org/medidtheft_consumertips.html
How Priority Health protects your information
We are required by state and federal laws to keep your personal information confidential, in all our records, paper and electronic. Read about Priority Health privacy practices.
New Medicare cards = New scams
Sometime between now and April 2019, you'll get a new Medicare card that has a unique number on it instead of your Social Security number.
Scam artists are already using this as an opportunity. Here are some tips:
- Know that you do not have to do anything or pay any fee to receive your new Medicare card. The cards are automatically be mailed to all current beneficiaries.
- CMS will never call you uninvited and ask to verify your information over the phone.
- CMS will never ask for your Social Security number or bank information.
- If someone asks you for your information, for money, or threatens to cancel your health benefits if you don't share your personal information, hang up the phone.