Health insurance plans are indispensable. They allow us to get the care we need for less. However, in the data breach era we now live in, they also make us vulnerable to ID theft.

Earlier in 2015, nearly 92 million records were exposed when three Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance plans became the victims of security breaches—becoming just another part of an ongoing trend. According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, health care organizations comprised 42 percent of security breach victims in 2014 and have accounted for the highest percentage of hacks than any other business sector in the past three years.

Forbes Magazine also reported that 91 percent of healthcare organizations have experienced a data breach in the last two years, explaining that because medical records contain not only a person’s medical history but also even more sensitive information such as Social Security Numbers, access to them is highly valuable. Thefts can also fraudulently obtain medical services from the compromised data. According to a study on the privacy and security of health care data, while most attacks on health care organizations were typically due to an employee losing a device or having it stolen from them, most security breaches now happen because of criminal attacks.

“Organizations in the healthcare industry, like hospitals, as well as their business associates the organizations that help them manage and protect their data are under cyber attack,” Rick Kam, president and co-founder of ID Experts, which sponsored the study, told Forbes.

While health insurance companies must work to strengthen their security measures, there are a few things that a consumer can do to increase vigilance and prevent further damage due to medical identity theft.

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November 18, 2015 By Identity Guard Resource Center, a MIFA Member Company