It is definitely the time of year when even certified ‘Hate To Shop-phobics’ find themselves heading to the mall, super store or to an online merchant to find the perfect gift for everyone on their list. Also heading to all of those locations are those who find their Christmas cheer by stealing yours (along with your wallet, money, ID, purchases & possibly your physical well being)! Thieves, pickpockets, scam artists and other unsavory sorts prey on all of those harried, distracted and thoughtful shoppers. Before you head out to shop, remember these tips gathered from multiple safety sites:Read More
Using ‘plastic’ money can be a great way to track expenses and consolidate your bill paying, but that plastic should come with a bit of a warning label. Credit card fraud is on the rise, as is the fraudulent use of checking accounts. Common sense and a healthy dose of forewarning are your best protections!Read More
We have all heard the horror stories of thieves stealing an individual’s credit identity to rack up bills that result in a host of nightmares for the victim. But, have you considered the possibility that the same sort of criminal may be targeting your medical identification?
Alarmingly, there has been an increase of cases involving criminals who use the ‘medical identity’ of another to receive medical care in someone else’s name. The victim of the fraud ends up with bills for medical care they did not receive and, in some instances, diagnosis and treatments listed in databases that do not belong to them. The financial cost can be overwhelming and the possibility of malpractice frightening.
What can you do to safeguard your medical identity? Here are a few suggestions:
1. Treat your medical insurance card like you would a credit card. If lost, report it immediately to your insurance company. Don’t show your insurance card to or loan it to anyone other than trusted healthcare providers. At the medical facility, do not stand at the counter and rattle off insurance information that includes the numbers, social security number or birth date.
2. Read those EOBs! Insurance companies issue Explanation of Benefits when a provider is paid in your name. Look over those EOBs and quickly report mistakes to your insurance company. Shred EOBs if they include policy number, etc. Check that procedures billed to insurance company are accurate. Fraud schemes include providers billing for more expensive procedures, procedures not performed, charges for a specialist that wasn’t seen, ‘nurse’ visits when a trip to the lab would do, equipment not used and ‘splitting’ one procedure into multiple procedures in order to bill at a higher rate.
3. Check out benefits paid every year. Do a yearly check up on claims paid on your behalf. Quickly report any that you do not recognize. Make sure that your address or other contact information is accurate.
4. Watch out for scams! Clinics and physicians have been prosecuted for filing false bills covering tests and procedures that have never been performed. To avoid being a victim, avoid clinics that waive co-pays, offer ‘free’ tests, exams, transportation, etc. Again, check those EOBs for errors! I recently found an $11,000 error.
5. Check your credit rating. If someone has run up medical bills in your name, especially with false address, etc. you may likely find claims from credit agencies on your credit rating.
6. Ask for an accounting of disclosures. You have the right under HIPAA to get this document from every health care provider you visit. This document will let you know to whom information was released, when it was released and what information the provider received. As some medical databases are not interconnected, this is another way to track errors in your medical history.
7. If you find errors, what should you do? First, contact the provider and your insurance company. It may simply be a ‘coding’ error or honest mistake on the provider’s part. If it is not an error or you suspect fraud, contact your insurance, and keep records of who you speak to. Most insurance companies will aggressively pursue cases of suspected fraud. Report the fraud to your police department and receive a copy of the report. Other agencies will also investigate medical fraud. These include:
- City, County, State and Federal Law Enforcement Agencies
- Justice Department through the Assistant
- U.S. Attorney General’s Office
- Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
- Postal Inspectors
- Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
- Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
- Offices of Inspectors General (OIG)
- U.S. Department of Labor
For more information, check out these websites:
It is one of every parent’s worst nightmares: your child is with you, or worse even, with another adult and involved in an automobile accident. The driver, you or someone else, is seriously injured and unable to identify the children in the car. What are emergency workers supposed to do? Obviously, they will do all within their power to get medical attention to everyone involved, but what about your child? How will those who attend to him or her know whom to call? Is there important medical information that first responders and emergency physicians need to know before treating your child? These are all reasonable and real-life concerns that emergency workers face everyday. Even if your child were unharmed, you would want to be called as quickly as possible to comfort your child!
It is a common enough occurrence that a program has been developed to deal with just such a scenario. CHAD was developed by the National Travelers Assistance Program, after a 13-month old boy named Chad was involved in a car accident while being driven by his babysitter. The babysitter was killed in the accident and Chad’s parents were located only because an E.R. nurse recognized the child. If she had failed to do so, little Chad would have been temporarily placed in foster care.
Since that unfortunate accident the NTAP developed a small adhesive sticker that is filled out by the parents and placed on the right (child’s right as seated) corner of the child’s car seat or booster. You can request a free sticker or you can easily label your child’s seat. Using a ‘sticker’ sheet or label designed for a floppy disk, cassette tape or other blank sticker, or a 3×5 card that you can tape down and write on the following information:
- Child’s Name:
Birth date: Parent’s Name(s):
Phone(s): (home, cells, office) Parent’s Address: Child’s Physician:
Physician’s Phone: Emergency Contact:
Phone: Child’s Known Allergies and/or medical conditions:
Add any additional information you feel is important. Some items that would be helpful to rescue workers and medical personnel would be, for example, your child is autistic, on medication, is hard of hearing, hyperactive, etc.
(The CHAD sticker does not include the allergy and medical condition information. However, this could be critical to treating your child in an emergency. If you use the CHAD sticker, please add this information. If your child does not have any allergies that you know of, write NKA.)
Consider duplicating this information for each child if you are traveling by plane or train. Place the card in the child’s pocket, their backpack and/or jacket pocket. If placing the information in a pocket, safety pin it to the inside of the pocket. This information also belongs in each child’s 72-hour kit.Read More