High-profile data breaches are making headlines, and affected consumers are no-doubt on high alert when it comes to their credit, banking, and brokerage accounts—but have you thought about the relation between identity theft and medical care?

According to the Federal Trade Commission, medical identity theft occurs when a thief uses “your name or health insurance numbers to see a doctor, get prescription drugs, file claims with your insurance provider, or get other care. If the thief’s information is mixed with yours, your treatment, insurance and payment records, and credit report may be affected.”

If you were affected by a data breach, pay close attention to doctor bills, health insurance Explanation of Benefits (EOB) statements and Health Savings Account (HSA) information. Keep an eye out for things such as:

  • Getting a bill or EOB for medical services you didn’t receive./li>
  • Being contacted by a debt collection service about medical debt you were not aware of./li>
  • While the financial fallout from identity theft can usually be resolved, any fraudulent changes to your medical records can be difficult to correct, so it’s important to catch the fraud early./li>

If you do find yourself a victim of medical identity theft, remember you have certain rights when dealing with medical providers, such as doctors’ offices, hospitals, nursing homes, etc.

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By Kerry Kremke, Nebraska BlueCross BlueShield, November 21, 2017