Tuesday, October 25, 2016 10:35 am, Posted by Absolute Destruction
On the surface, the unauthorized use of your OHIP card doesn’t seem too bad. What’s it to you if someone schedules a visit with their doctor under your name? A check-up is just one of the many health services that comes free as a resident of Ontario. Unfortunately, this basic medical physical isn’t why fraudsters steal medical information. An Ontario Health Insurance Plan card is sold for approximately $1,000 on the street so that fraudsters can access treatments and pharmaceuticals without providing their own name, which can have detrimental consequences for your health and your wallet.
Why It’s Bad for Your Health
Anytime you use your health card to access treatment from your family doctor, a hospital, or any therapy clinic, a record will be made in your file for the treatment you’ve undergone. If your OHIP hasn’t been cancelled and flagged as stolen, there’s no way for these medical centres to recognize their unlawful use. A thief can use your medical information to access treatment and drug therapies of their own, and the health care they receive will be recorded on your file. This can have a negative effect in your life, as your real and fraudulent medical information will mix, creating a confusing history of ailments, disorders, drug regimes, and therapies an attending doctor must parse through. Incorrect medical notes may be added that can prevent you from accessing care that you need.
Why It’s Bad for Your Bank Book
Unless you’re receiving emergency medical care in hospital, these mistakes in your medical history can be rectified simply by having a conversation with your family doctor and removing the false information. What’s far more damaging are the financial effects of these fraudulent treatments. Your OHIP only covers so much, leaving many treatments and prescriptions as out-of-pocket medical expenses. When your medical identity is stolen, a thief will use your contact information and any private medical insurance you have under your name to pay for these services. Eventually, you’ll receive a bill in the mail for a treatment you never underwent; or you’ll file for a reimbursement for expenses from your insurance and find out you’ve already used your annual maximum.
How You Can Prevent it
Protecting your personal information is the easiest way to avoid medical theft altogether. Make sure you never leave your OHIP or SIN cards unattended and don’t give out these numbers to anyone but your trusted medical providers. Should you lose or have either of these cards stolen, cancel them immediately by contacting your local Service Canada and Service Ontario offices.
When you receive any medical invoices for uncovered treatments and medication, keep these safely in your records so that you can file them correctly with your insurance company and the Canada Revenue Agency in time for taxes. For tax purposes, you’ll need to keep these records for at least 7 years in case of an audit. When this time frame has elapsed, be sure to call us to schedule a one-time purge of your medical records. Our NAID-certified mobile shredders can eliminate the information kept on these files without a chance of retrieval. Unlike simply throwing out these documents in the trash with the rest of your garbage (in bins that identity thieves can search), our mobile shredding will make sure identity thieves are incapable of finding and using your personal information. Give us a call before you toss any medical documents — your health and your wallet will thank you!