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Senior Citizen's Guide to Indianapolis

Medical Identity Theft
Tips for Protecting Yourself and Medicare

Medical identity theft is serious business. According to one study, about 1.5 million Americans are victims of medical identity theft each year. The average cost to fix medical ID theft for someone is more than $20,000 per incident!

But medical ID theft is about more than losing time and money. Sometimes people are denied a Medicare service or equipment because their records falsely show they already received it, when in fact it went to someone posing as them.

What Is Medical Identity Theft?

Medical ID theft occurs when someone steals personal information—such as your name and Medicare number—and uses the information to get medical treatment, prescription drugs, surgery or other services and then bills Medicare for it.

Medicare ID theft is a form of Medicare fraud. It can affect your medical and health insurance records. Every time a thief uses your identity to get care, a record is created with incorrect medical information about you. That information might include:

Any of these could lead to you receiving the wrong treatment and even being injured or getting sick due to an incorrect treatment.

All types of people, including doctors and medical equipment companies, have been caught stealing people’s medical identities. There have even been links to the mafia and thieves in other countries. Sadly, about one-third of the people who do it are family members.

How Do People Learn They Are Victims?

Here are some warning signs that your identity may be stolen:

How to Avoid Medical Identity Theft

How to Respond if You Suspect Identity Theft

How Your Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) Can Help

Your local SMP is ready to provide you with the information you need to PROTECT yourself from Medicare errors, fraud and abuse; DETECT potential errors, fraud and abuse; and REPORT your concerns. SMPs use trained senior volunteers to help educate and empower seniors in the fight against health care fraud. Your SMP can help you with questions, concerns or complaints about potential fraud and abuse issues. It also provides information and educational presentations.

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