A high number (26 percent) of respondents admitted to sharing their credentials with family members; of these, 56 percent said they did this only once, probably because they were worried about possible consequences, according to the report. Compassion was cited as the reason for sharing their credentials with a family member, either because the family member did not have insurance or because the family member could not afford treatment.
The primary consequences of medical identity theft are financial harm (50 percent said the most harmful consequence was paying for services illegally rendered), and loss of their health insurance coverage (49 percent).The most negative consequences cites by respondents were: loss of money (46 percent; embarrassment (37 percent; increased insurance premiums (31 percent); and lost medical coverage (21 percent).
Yet surprisingly, 49 percent of respondents said they would take no new steps to prevent medical identity theft in the future. Twenty-nine percent said they would monitor their credit reports; 25 percent said they would review their medical records, and 15 percent said they would make sure their medical reports were stored by security conscious vendors.
Healthcare privacy is an important issue with many medical identity theft victims, with 78 percent saying they expected healthcare providers to ensure the privacy of their health records. Of the steps to ensure privacy of their medical records, 71 percent wanted assurance that only professionally trained medical practitioners had access to their medical records; another 69 percent wanted to be able to control their medical records directly. In addition, 62 percent wanted stricter laws to prevent the government or companies from accessing their records without consent.
The survey also pointed to a lack of knowledge about healthcare reform on the part of the public. Only 26 percent said they were familiar with the new healthcare reform bil passed in 2010, and 32 percent had no knowledge of the bill. In addition, 79 percent were not aware of the initiative to have an electronic database for patient information; if aware, respondents were uncertain how the database would affect the security of their personal health information.