Medical Identity Theft Essay

1857 words - 7 pages

It was a normal day at the Intern site, until a specific individual walked through the door. The client walked up to the front desk and stated that he has a new insurance card for me to copy. Rhonda Spence, the Office Manager gave him a look as if something was wrong. She leaves the office and states to the therapist that the client is using an insurance card that is not his. The therapist takes the client back to his office and informs him that he is suspected of identity theft. The client does not have health insurance, but his twin brother does. He was using his twin brother’s insurance card to receive behavioral health services. The twin brother is not aware of the situation.
The client recognized the consequences of his actions. The law enforcement officials were called and he was arrested. The fraud investigators discovered that the individual has been receiving health care services at several different clinics with thousands of dollars in outstanding medical bills. Currently, he is being charged with medical identity theft and if found guilty he can be sentenced up to fifteen years of imprisonment, a fine, and pay restitution. As for the victim, more than likely he will not be responsible for paying the bills that the thief created. However, he will be left with a precarious credit situation, and he will deal with the emotional stress of regaining his good name. Medical identity theft is becoming a growing problem in the community. It is not only the fastest growing crime in the United States, but also the leading consumer fraud complaint in the country. There are several ways that identity theft is committed around the world. Identity thieves may target one individual or acquire personal information from thousands of people. It is important to understand what it is, why it happens, how, who it involves, what can be done to prevent it, and what to do if you become a victim.
Medical identity theft is described as the unlawful use of someone else’s personal information to get medical services or to make fake claims for medical services (Mancilla and Moczygemba, n.d.). Medical identity theft can be divided into three categories. One category type is using personal information and using the health coverage of an insured person. The second category consists of a medical facility worker mistreating privacy privileges to get a patient’s health insurance information, and then sell the health policy information or use it to submit false bills to the insurance company.
Statistics emphasize the extent of the problem. In 2006, The Federal Trade Commission completed a survey and found that 2.5 percent of the adult population in the United States reported being victims of medical identity theft. The survey also discovered the rate at which medical identity theft happens with individuals who are family. As what happened during my internship, family theft is the third category of identity theft. Family related theft accounts for 40 percent of...

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