Coalition Against Insurance Fraud has advised that Identity Theft has spawned a vicious new crime: Medical Identity Theft.

Medical Information thieves obtain enough personal information from victims to make fraudulent claims against an honest consumer’s health insurance policy.

These scams include illegal and bogus treatment, the purchases of addictive drugs and the purchase of various medical devices and equipment such as oxygen tanks or wheelchairs. Additionally, the victims correct health history can be compromised by the actual scammer's medical file and treatments.

Here is one of the ways Senior’s can escape the scourge of medical ID theft: examine your EOB's (explanation of benefits). If you see treatments you never received, immediately notify your insurer and medical providers.

Once a year you should ask your insurer for a listing of benefits paid out under your policy. If you suspect that you may be a victim of medical ID fraud, get a copy of your records from your doctor, hospital, pharmacy or laboratory. Finally, file a police report to notify law enforcement a crime may have been committed and forward a copy of the report to your insurer, medical providers and all credit bureaus.

Senior Citizens are encouraged to confidentially contact Senior Services/ECCOA for any help that may be needed in navigating through the process.

Tom Kern/VOCA

Senior Crime Victim Advocate