I can’t imagine this happening but my guess is with identity theft becoming more and more common, it will happen more often than we think. This is why when I came across the article on News4Jax, I thought it was an important article to share with our clients and potential clients. We all need to be aware of this becoming an issue.
A women was recently rushed to Flagler Hospital with a serious injury, but once there she learned someone else already had a major surgery at her expense and used her insurance…in another state.
According to a Wall Street Journal study, more than half a million Americans had their medical identities stolen last year by people desperate for medical treatment who don’t have health insurance themselves. The numbers speak for themselves – medical identity theft affected 2.3 million adult patients in 2014 compared with 1.4 million in 2009, according to a survey by the Ponemon Institute LLC, a research firm.
Some thieves steal medical identities for cancer surgeries or open-heart procedures. In the case of one Palm Coast woman, a stranger with diabetes had a leg amputated using the woman’s medical information, which the woman said was stolen from a hospital.
Since 2011, the number of Americans whose medical identities have been stolen has increased more than 20 percent annually. Most victims end up paying approximately $2,500 to have the situation resolved.
Experts said, for example, that if a person is involved in a car accident and needs an emergency blood transfusion, the indicated blood type might not be theirs if they have been a victim of medical identity theft. That mismatch could cause shock or even death.