|By PR Newswire||
|February 4, 2014 03:17 PM EST||
DES MOINES, Iowa, Feb. 4, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --You monitor your credit reports to protect your financial identity. You monitor social media to protect your online reputation. You may also want to monitor the information you routinely provide medical providers, such as your address, Social Security number and insurance provider. The threat isn't just financial: if another person's information is mixed with yours, your medical records – and treatments – may be affected.
Medical identity theft is when someone uses another person's name and information to get medical service or make false claims. Once information is stolen a thief may see a doctor, get prescription drugs or file claims with an insurance provider. Medical identity theft cost the healthcare industry $41 billion in 20121, with half of all healthcare organizations affected by the crime.2
While there is no way you can completely safeguard yourself against medical identity theft, ARAG®, a global provider of legal solutions, is offering a free guidebook on Identity Theft so you can learn about precautions you can take. To safeguard your medical identity, consider these tips:
- Be careful about sharing your health plan identification for health services that are supposed to be "free."
- Don't share information with anyone over the phone or by email unless you initiated the contact and know who you're dealing with.
- Keep paper and electronic copies of your medical and health insurance records in a safe place. Shred outdated health insurance forms, prescription and physician statements, and the labels from prescription bottles before you throw them out.
- If you're asked to provide personal information on a website find out why it's needed, how it will be kept safe, whether it will be shared and with whom.
- If you decide to share your information online, look for a lock icon on the browser's status bar or a URL that begins "https:" the "s" is for secure.
The bottom line is that you need to be aware of how prevalent identity theft is, and that anyone could be a victim. Many people choose to have a legal plan for immediate access to help in case medical or financial information is compromised. Legal plans, such as those offered by ARAG, provide access to a nationwide network of attorneys and legal resources that can help when unexpected events happen.
ARAG® (www.ARAGgroup.com) provides affordable legal solutions through trusted service to help people protect what matters most.
ARAG is the world's largest privately owned legal solutions enterprise. The company has an international premium base of nearly $2 billion and protects 15.5 million individuals and their families – worldwide. We are committed to providing our customers a choice of legal solutions to help them live a life full of opportunities.
We demonstrate expertise, integrity and passion in everything we do to serve our customers and make a positive difference in our community. We are proud to sponsor ARAG Free Will Day, providing low and middle income citizens with free access to attorneys for the creation of important legal documents to protect their family, finances and future.
ARAG's North American headquarters are based in Des Moines, Iowa. We've earned the prestigious Center of Excellence Award for six consecutive years (2007-2012) and have been awarded a Top 100 and Top 20 Call Center (2010-2011). ARAG team members voted ARAG a Best Places to Work in Insurance (2009-2012).
For more news and information about ARAG visit ARAGgroup.com.
1Ponemon Institute, LLC. Third Annual Survey on Medical Identity Theft. June 2012.
2Ponemon, Institute, LLC. Third Annual Benchmark Study on Patient Privacy & Data Security. December 2012.