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Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Beware of Medical Insurance Fraud

Where huge sum of money is involved, fraudulent acts are sure to take place. This is true in the medical insurance field where records of patients have been reportedly hacked by criminal elements.

Identity theft, a crime which has victimized credit card holders, has found its way to the medical insurance field. Since most transactions are now done online and through computers, it is now possible to steal medical records, health insurance numbers, and personal data in making false claims. The Federal Trade Commission has recorded 19,500 complaints of medical identity theft from January 2002 to April 2006.

It is interesting to note that most of the crimes were perpetrated by medical clinic personnel themselves who sell these data to criminal elements in exchange for a certain amount. This was revealed in the 2006 World Privacy Forum report.

Measures have already been implemented in order to put a stop to medical insurance fraud. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 were able to recover over $1 billion dollars allotted to the Medical Trust Fund. Likewise, medical facilities have replaced their computer systems to access only the data they require.

Preventing medical insurance fraud should be a collaborative effort. When making medical insurance claims, you should be cautious in giving away your personal data and health insurance numbers.

In addition, whenever you suspect that you have been a victim of medical insurance fraud, report it to the authorized agency or department. After all, these criminals are taking advantage of your medical records, so it is your job to protect your own records.