Posted January 21, 2013 by Michael J. Kora in Health Wellness

Is fraud in your future? Protect yourself from medical identity theft

With millions of Americans slated to obtain access to healthcare below the Affordable Care Act, many may uncover themselves unknowingly at threat for medical identity theft, a crime that expenses the nation $ 41.three billion annually. In the United States, an estimated 1.five million folks have their ID stolen every year.

&ldquoIt is a cruel twist on the standard crime of individual identity theft,&rdquo says Jo-Ellen Abou Nader, senior director of Express Scripts&rsquo Fraud, Waste and Abuse plan. &ldquoWhen a particular person&rsquos medical identity is stolen, they may possibly uncover that false data is added to their private wellness record such as a modify in blood sort or inaccurate allergies.&rdquo

Stolen medical identities often fuel yet another crime: prescription drug fraud and abuse. Thieves can use stolen data to illegally get prescription drugs and sell them on the secondary marketplace. Illegal drug diversion expenses the nation $ 73.five billion each and every year, and prescription drug abuse is responsible for much more deaths than heroin and cocaine combined.

Abou Nader provides the following guidelines to shoppers to support fight against medical identity theft and fraud:

* Guard your card: Protect your medical identification card at all instances and retain it in a safe and secure location. Some healthcare companies, like Express Scripts, have Fraud, Waste and Abuse applications in place to determine fake or forged prescriptions and other indicators of fraudulent activities. If your card is lost or stolen, instantly alert your insurance company.

* Toss with caution: When throwing away prescription bottles and vials, get rid of the labels or black out your personal information so it is illegible. When throwing away documents containing protected wellness info, shred the documents as an alternative of discarding them in the garbage.

* Safeguard your individual details: Be alert to impersonators or email phishing scams asking you for your private information and by no means give out your passwords above the telephone, net, or through e mail. If you are unsure, call the business directly to inquire about the request.

* Be privy to privacy policies: Just before agreeing to the privacy policies of anyone you do business with, read through their policies in detail to fully comprehend how your private data will be utilized. If you have concerns, request far more data.

* Lock up your bottles: Retain your prescription bottles hidden or locked away, specifically throughout the vacation season when you could have an increase in visitors that will have access to your personal belongings.

* Read your EOB Statements: It is critical to carefully read any explanation of positive aspects (EOB) statements you obtain from your well being program right after therapy to make sure the services listed are precise. Assessment the name of the provider, the date of service and the service supplied. If it consists of info that does not appear familiar, be sure to instantly report it to your wellness strategy provider.

For far more data about how to shield yourself against medical identification theft, go to Express Scripts&rsquo Healthcare Insights blog at http://lab.express-scripts.com/.

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Michael J. Kora