Medical identity fraud, where individuals use the names and medical records of others to obtain healthcare is becoming frequent. Experts "believe that the rising cost of health care is driving more identity theft and that many people are unaware they have become victims unless they receive a hospital bill or query from their insurer," according to the Times. In addition to bills from hospitals and health insurers "fraudulently run up" by others, victims of medical identity fraud "face a greater risk of injury or even death if doctors make treatment decisions" based on errors in their medical records that can result, the Times reports.
Medical privacy rules established under the 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act "can make it difficult for patients to see their own medical records" when identity theft is suspected, the Times reports. In addition, "once a person tells a keeper of records that someone else's data might be intermingled, the file becomes even harder to obtain" because "it includes another person's medical history, which many hospitals argue can't be turned over without consent."
Read Los Angeles Time Article, ID Theft Infects Medical Records