This week, the Medical Identity Fraud Alliance released its Fifth Annual Study on Medical Identity Theft, which looks at the extent and impact of medical identity theft on people in the United States. The report says that in 2014, there were more than 2 million victims of medical identity theft in the United States, almost 500,000 more than in 2013.
What's worse is that, compared to other forms of identity theft, victims of medical identity theft are more likely to suffer personal financial consequences as a result.
Victims of credit card or similar forms of financial fraud are not expected to pay out of pocket to resolve the problem – but victims of medical identity theft often have to.
The report says that more than half (65%) of medical identity theft victims paid more than $13,000 to fix it, including payments to legal counsel, healthcare or health insurance providers, and identity-protection services. That's in addition to the average of 200 hours of time the typical victim had to spend on the issue.
Victims of medical identity theft are seldom informed of this by their insurer, and more than half of respondents said that even if they did discover a fraudulent or incorrect bills charged to their medical insurance benefits, they would not even know how to report this.