When it comes to identity theft, most people are already very cautious. They are proactive in tracking their finance, refrain from sharing valuable information, controlling the use of credit cards, and using blockchain-based technology to help fight fraud. However, medical identity theft is one of the most common crimes that will only continue to rise. In fact, the number of patient victims of identity theft has risen 22% in 2017, alone.
Blockchain and Healthcare Fraud Protection
According to the National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association, three percent of the nation’s budget goes to health care fraud, costing $68 billion a year. While the risk continues to increase, here’s how you can protect your family from health care fraud.
Be Aware of Sudden “Coverage Changes”
Medicare coverage does not change. Therefore, anyone with health care will not need to sign up for a new plan or make changes according to the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare. If someone contacts you claiming to be from the insurance company or government, take it as a red flag and contact the authorities immediately.
Pay Attention to Your Credit Report
Anyone can fall victim to identity theft. This is often the result of not checking your family’s credit report and monitoring their activity online. When families forget to track their children’s identity for any fraud, it may affect their future employment and credit. This is especially true if thieves have used their names to open fraudulent accounts. In fact, avoiding identity theft can prevent the risk of a mortgage scam or plans of securing a loan.
Never Provide Personal Information to Unsolicited Callers or Visitors
Do not give any personal information to any callers or visitors, asking about your current insurance plan. Unless you have called the company yourself, there is an unlikely chance that the insurance company will contact you for further information regarding your plan.
Monitor Your Information Online
Using blockchain technology will keep your information safe and secure. Blockchain technology is a digital way to track all costs and processes within the project or transaction. That means you can stay on top of all your information and prevent the risk of theft.
Stay Cautious of Free Medical Care
You may be tempted to get a checkup free of charge at an unknown clinic or doctor. Doing so may lead you towards being scammed and sharing your medical information. In fact, free treatment is often a way for thieves to get a hold of your insurance details.
ALWAYS Read Your Health Care Bill
Your health care billing statement or Medicare Summary Notice (MSN) must always be read thoroughly before, and after you receive medical care. To prevent any mistakes that could cost you, here’s what to look for:
- Charges for services that were not administered
- Double billing for the same procedures
- Services that were not formally ordered by the Doctor
If you suspect any form of fraud, error, or abuse related to healthcare, make sure to gather the evidence and report it immediately. Doing so will save you a lot of trouble.
Quick Tips on Protecting Your Family From Healthcare Fraud:
- Stay informed on your claims.
- Use a reputable security software to protect your computer from viruses.
- Don’t share your private information to any caller, claiming to be from your health insurance company.
- Ask questions and verify the answers.
- Review your health plan’s claims often, to ensure that there are no claims for any treatment you did not receive.
Always treat your insurance card as you would with a credit card. If you are usually shopping for health coverage, make sure that the company is legitimate and read the fine print. If you are unsure about the company or agent that you’re dealing with, you can call your state health insurance department to confirm.
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Brennan is a blockchain technical adviser in the healthcare sector and blockchain entrepreneur who has worked on developing proprietary concepts for both artificial intelligence and enterprise blockchain. He is a graduate of Rutgers University School of Health Professions where he earned a M.S. in biomedical informatics.