Broken BonesIf you don’t want to be paying someone else’s medical bills for the bones they broke after a ski trip gone bad, it’s best to make sure you follow certain precautions regarding medical identity fraud.

The California Department of Justice Privacy Enforcement and Protection Unit created a set of five basic rules to ensure you are being protected.

First, if you receive any kind of breach notification in the mail, do not take this lightly! It is important to examine what information has been accidentally released (social security number, medical information, insurance numbers) and then contact the appropriate agency (health insurance company, banks, credit card companies, etc.). If you feel the need to create a fraud alert or put a hold on those Visas, go to http://www.oag.ca.gov/idtheft/security-breach for step by step guidelines on how to proceed.

The second and third rules are pointing out how to handle situations where someone has actually committed medical fraud or identity theft. I know we all do it but don’t throw away letters that say “THIS IS NOT A BILL,” read through them as they contain breakdowns of all benefits and limits. If you notice a medical service on there you did not receive or you notice that your limit is too high and you barely used it, it is time to contact your provider and follow the necessary steps to investigate the situation.

Lastly, as those of us who have suffered from an unpaid bill know, those strange numbers calling you at all times with foreign zip codes (the calls we usually know to ignore) might just be a debt collector trying to get your attention on a medical service you didn’t receive! So, perhaps when you see those foreign area codes again, pick up! Health It Security has step by step information on their website.

Kenneth G. Marks has been practicing personal injury law since he was admitted to the California Bar in 1981. www.KmarksLaw.com