"Medical identity theft is on the rise and expected to worsen," The Wall Street Journal reports. "The problem has grown during the recession as more uninsured people use the coverage of a friend, relative or even a stranger to get care. Of particular concern is the fact that most of the fraud is committed by people who pay medical workers for patients' information."
Pam Dixon, executive director of the World Privacy Forum, "says the most dramatic increases in medical identity theft are in states with a lot of retirees, including California, Texas, New York, Arizona and Florida. ... The consequences aren't just financial. When someone uses another person's identity, incorrect information could get into the medical files. 'Whenever you have a commingled health-care file, you encourage risk,' says Ms. Dixon. That's because the files may have the wrong medical history, blood type and allergies -- and that could have deadly results" (Mincer, 11/29).
Related KHN coverage: Coming To A Doctor's Office Near You: Photo ID Check (Gold, 7/29).