6 Ways to Protect Your Medical ID

1. Treat your insurance card like a credit card. Don’t lose it or loan it, and don’t show it to anyone except a trusted health care provider.

2. Watch out for “freebies.” Be suspicious of offers for free medical care. Avoid clinics that advertise aggressively, promise to waive co-payments, provide free transportation, or similarly entice you.

3. Read the EOB. Carefully review the “explanation of benefits” letters sent from your insurance company, and call about claims for services or drugs that you don’t understand.

4. Check your benefits yearly. Once a year, request a listing of benefits paid out by your insurer. That way, you’ll discover fraudulent payments even if the thief has changed your billing address.

5. Request an accounting of disclosures. You have a right under HIPAA to get this document from every health care provider you visit. The accounting will detail what personal information was released and whom it was sent to. It’s a good way to catch and track theft, because any fraudulent medical information will probably be passed along to other providers.

6. Review your credit report. If someone has stolen your medical identity and racked up unpaid hospital bills in your name, the charges could turn up on your credit report.

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