Saturday, March 15, 2008

Insurers and Doctors' Identity Theft

Dr. Val had a recent post describing "Medical Identity Theft." This is where a non-insured individual acquires the insurance information of another patient and uses this to rack up all kinds of health care bills while rendering the victimized patient virtually uninsurable later.

What she didn't tell us, though, was that some doctors have already been having a different form of identify theft: from their friendly, neighborhood managed care company.

What's that you say, Dr. Wes?

Well, remember those voluminous forms with all that personal insformation that you had to fill out to obtain insurance reimbursements? It took FOREVER to complete those forms. Entering your name, address, social security number, date of birth, Medicare UPIN number, DEA number, your state's controlled substance number, mother's maiden name (well, not really that one) on all of those forms sure was arduous, wasn't it?

But you complied and dutifully entered all of that information because you wanted to get paid by our omnipotent healthcare insurance system. In return, you were afforded the utmost confidence that your data (like that of your patients) would be held in strict confidence, remember?

Well, it seems there might have been a little problem.

It seems at least one managed care company who handles the military's health care program, HealthNet Federal Services, LLC, had a little security breach.

From their "Dear Doctor" letter:
In late December 2007, Health Net was informed that this web file was accessed and may have included your name, provider address, and social security number. The specific information accessed includes providers' information that show dates of service between October 2005 through September 2006 with a TRICARE claim paid on or prior to October 2006.
Oops.

But its okay. They'll offer you a free complimentary credit monitoring service absolutely free for 12 months and give you some online resources and phone numbers where you can get a free credit report!

Wow, what a deal!

Come on, doctors, what are you waiting for? Sign up NOW! You won't want to miss out on this exciting offer...

-Wes

1 comment:

Dr. Val said...

That's horrible. The good news? My hubby is working on a centralized credentialing database that will be much harder to hack, and will require docs to fill out this dreaded paper work only once for all insurance plans. Hope it helps... ;)