Photo: Flickr / boliston
Medical theft is running amok, and nearly half of us know who’s behind it, according to Experian’s ProtectMyID Third Annual Study on Medical Identity Theft.In a survey of 807 consumers conducted in February 2012, 757 people admitted they’d been victims of medical identity theft.
Of the victims, a whopping 52 per cent failed to report the crime to authorities and were forced to pay their health care provider out-of-pocket to cover the damage, which took about a year or so (12.1 months) to do. 20-five per cent needed two or more years to resolve the issue.
The survey estimated that the cost per year for such payments was around $41 billion—much higher than the $30.9 billion reported last year. Individually, the costs amounted to roughly $22,346, up from $20,663 in 2011.
As you might suspect, the study found a lot of people are guilty of letting their family members use their personal info to get health care, a result of rising health costs. This is troubling, but even more concerning is how little these consumers said they do to protect their identities in the first place.
Short of handing their info over, Experian found that most people (57%) don’t bother to check their medical records—the easiest way to let theft slip under the radar—while nearly half (49%) don’t have a clue how to go about it. Also, far too many (46%) trust their health care providers to bill them fairly and accurately—something that isn’t happening often these days.
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