Patient identity theft jumps 22% in 2014

Medical identity theft affected two million people in 2014, a number approximately 22 percent higher than in 2013.

A study from the Medical Identity Fraud Alliance and the Ponemon Institute found that since 2009, medical identity thefts have nearly doubled. Resolving theft is expensive, too — approximately 65 percent of victims paid more than $13,000 out of pocket to resolve the theft, according to a news release. The total out-of-pocket cost to consumers for medical identity theft in 2014 topped $20 billion.

The average victim also learns about the theft more than three months after it happens, and 30 percent do not know when they became a victim. Approximately 40 percent expect prompt notification if a data breach does occur, and nearly half of respondents replied that they would consider switching healthcare providers if their information was compromised, according to the news release.

"2015 will be a year of increased attention to the pervasiveness and damaging effects of medical identity theft," said Ann Patterson, senior vice president and program director at the Medical Identity Fraud Alliance, in the news release. "As we've already seen this year, the healthcare industry is and will continue to be a major target for hackers."

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