8 ways to protect medical and health insurance information
What do thieves want even more than someone’s credit card information? Their medical and health insurance information.
Stolen healthcare information can be sold for more money than credit card or other financial information. That’s because it often takes months or years for people to realize that their healthcare information has been taken. Over that time, thieves may have racked up tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars of medical services.
But the issue isn’t just money. If people are illegally receiving healthcare services in someone’s name, their medical information—allergies, prescription drugs, health problems—is in the victim’s medical records. And that can put their health in danger.
How can healthcare information be protected?
Thieves rely on the fact that people don’t guard their medical or health insurance information as carefully as their financial information. These simple tips can help protect someone from having their healthcare information stolen:
- If they’re a BCBSRI member, they should regularly check their claims history by logging in to BCBSRI.com. There they can see a list of all the medical services submitted to BCBSRI in their name and their dependents’ names (if they are under age 16).
- They should check the Healthcare Services Summary they receive in the mail from BCBSRI to make sure they’ve actually received the services listed.
- Check their credit report regularly and look for unpaid medical bills. A free credit report can be obtained from each of the three major credit reporting agencies once a year by visiting annualcreditreport.com or calling 1-877-322-8228.
- If possible, health insurance information should only be shared with doctors and other healthcare providers. If asked for it in other situations (such as forms for a child’s sports teams), ask if providing that information is necessary and who will have access to it.
- People should never give their health insurance information to anyone who calls their house or comes to their door.
- People shouldn’t respond to emails asking for their personal information, even if they seem to be from legitimate companies. Learn more about recognizing scam emails.
- Beware of “free” medical services or treatments that ask for health insurance information.
Protecting member ID cards
Members’ BCBSRI member ID cards are intended for their use and only their use. Use of an ID card by anyone other than the member named on the card (or dependents) to receive healthcare services is considered fraud and is punishable by law. Any BCBSRI member who thinks someone has stolen their health insurance information should call the BCBSRI Anti-Fraud Hotline at 1-800-424-8700 or email SIU@bcbsri.org. [If a member’s ID card is lost, contact Customer Service at (401) 459-5000 or 1-800-639-2227 (outside RI).]
Visit our Reporting Healthcare Fraud page for more information.