The Fifth Annual Study on Medical Identity Theft by Ponemon Institute (2014) has just been released and has plenty of interesting data points…
Medical identity theft is costly to consumers
Unlike credit card fraud, victims of medical identity theft can suffer significant financial consequences. Sixty-five percent of medical identity theft victims surveyed paid more than $13,000 to resolve the crime. In 2014, medical identity theft cost consumers more than $20 billion in out-of-pocket costs. The number of victims experiencing out-of-pocket cost rose significantly from 36 percent in 2013 to 65 percent in 2014.
Medical identity theft is a complicated crime
In the case of medical identity theft, victims are seldom informed by their healthcare provider or insurer. On average, victims learn about the theft of their credentials more than three months following the crime and 30 percent do not know when they became a victim. Of those respondents (54 percent) who found an error in their Explanation of Benefits, about half did not know to whom to report the claim.
Resolution of medical identity theft is time consuming and may never occur
Due to HIPAA privacy regulations, victims of medical identity theft must be involved in resolution of the crime. In many cases, victims struggle to reach resolution following a medical identity theft incident. Only 10 percent of survey respondents reported achieving completely satisfactory conclusion of the incident. Consequently, many respondents are at risk for further theft or errors in healthcare records that could jeopardize medical treatments and diagnosis.
Medical identity theft can cause embarrassment; negatively impact consumer confidence
Nearly half of respondents (45 percent) say medical identity theft affected their reputation in some way. Of those, nearly 90 percent suffered embarrassment stemming from disclosure of sensitive personal health conditions and more than 20 percent of respondents believe the theft caused them to miss out on career opportunities or lose employment.
Consumers expect healthcare providers to be proactive in preventing and detecting medical identity theft
Although respondents are not confident in the security practices of their healthcare provider, the vast majority (79 percent) of respondents expect their healthcare providers to ensure the privacy of their health records. Forty-eight percent say they would consider changing healthcare providers if their medical records were lost or stolen. If a breach does occur, 40 percent expect prompt notification to come from the responsible organization.
You can download the free report here: Fifth Annual Study on Medical Identity Theft by Ponemon Institute