Medical identity theft happens when someone steals your personal or health insurance information. They use it to get medical care, prescriptions, insurance payouts … even surgery.
It’s more common than you may think. One national study estimates that a total of 1.4 million U.S. adults had been victims of medical identity theft by 2010.*
Causes serious financial, personal and health problems
Medical identity theft is a lot like regular identify theft. It can damage your credit rating. Cost you money and time to clear up. Even hurt your chances to get some jobs.
Most serious of all, it can affect your health. Just imagine if you:
Steps to protect your medical identity
No doubt, it’s a serious problem. So take steps to protect yourself.
Be careful with your member ID card. It could be used to get medical services or drugs. And these will be on your medical record permanently. If your card is missing, lost or stolen, notify Aetna Member Services right away.
Keep personal information personal. Don’t give out your insurance ID, Social Security or driver’s license numbers on the phone or by mail to just anyone. Make sure you originated the contact. And make sure there is a valid reason for giving out the number.
Be on guard even if someone claims to be from Aetna. We avoid asking for your Social Security number. However, there are times we need it. For example, if you:
If you are uneasy giving information to someone who says they are from Aetna – DON’T. Instead, call the Member Services number on you ID card. Ask to have your call directed to the department asking for the information. That way, you can be sure you are giving the information to Aetna.
Make sure “free” is free. If you visit a free clinic, make sure it's free. Don't show your ID card for any reason.
Take care of mail properly. Don't just throw away mail. Shred it or rip it up. This includes junk mail.
Review health care information. Take time to read mailed Explanation of Benefits (EOB) statements or online claims. Even if they are marked, “This is not a bill." Look for:
If you see claims for care or drugs you did not receive, call Aetna Member Services. Ask them to look into the claim. You can also check EOBs online. Log in to Aetna Navigator if you’re already a member.
Check your credit report. Identity thieves can run up medical costs in your name. The bills can be mailed to another address. You won’t know unless you check your report. Or you get a call from a collection agency.
You can get a credit report for free. Visit the Federal Trade Commission website to learn how.
* Second Annual Survey on Medical Identity Theft, March 2011. Ponemon Institute. Accessed July 2012. Available online.