Senior ID Theft: Issues, Causes, and Cures

Senior ID Theft and Privacy  — Pam Dixon speaks to Los Angeles County social workers and financial abuse support teams today to share WPF’s wealth of information about medical identity theft and how this crime impacts seniors. WISE and Healthy Aging is hosting this important meeting.

Key tips for caregivers and those working with seniors include:

  • Keep good records of all health care-related visits, and take care to match the date of the visit(s) with the billing records. This is true for public and private insurance. This is an important tip, because if there is a problem, this is often the most effective way to find it.
  • Also look for billings for medical goods or services that were not received.
  • Once or twice a year, call the insurer and proactively request a printout of all medical goods and services that were received. This printout needs to match your records.
  • As you go through health care visits for eye, dental, and other, make a written request for the senior’s medical record. It is important to create a baseline of correct information about medications and conditions. Medical ID theft is notorious for introducing errors into health care files. If you have a copy before there is a problem, it is of inestimable help.
  • If the senior you are caring for is in a residential facility, keep close tabs on all on-site medical visits, and insist on secure storage of health care billing information and medicare information. For example, this material should be kept in a locked file and secured area, or if electronic, password protected and encrypted and accessible only to qualified staff and personnel. In some instances caregivers at residential facilities have reported lax security standards.

See our medical identity theft resource page for detailed consumer tips and other resources.