We know how to take care of our credit cards. We use them for everything from groceries to online shopping to vacations and big purchases. We’ve been taught to guard our credit card number, its expiration date and the code on the back.

But nowadays, as reported in Reuters, your health care records are ten times more valuable to criminals than your credit card number.

Why? Medical records contain more personal data: names, addresses, Social Security numbers, birth dates, member identification numbers, billing and medical information data. The information can be used to get fake IDs, file false tax returns and receive medical services.

Unlike credit card fraud, medical fraud can be difficult — if not impossible — to correct from an administrative standpoint. Ever try to get a new Social Security number?

If someone has used your insurance ID card to receive medical care or get a prescription filled, your medical record won’t be accurate. That matters because it could cause potential life-threatening consequences. Say unbeknownst to you, someone has been using your insurance ID to finance their own medical care. You have a heart attack, and your record says you’re allergic to certain drugs. The person using your ID might be allergic, but you’re not, and yet those drugs aren’t administered to you when you need them.

Don’t passively sit by and think that it’ll never happen to you. There are things you can do to protect yourself.

Here are some simple things you can do to ensure you’re doing your part to ensure your health information is safe and secure:

>> Sign up for identity theft protection services, which can include credit monitoring, as well as identity repair in the event your information is stolen. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska provides that coverage, free of charge, to members. Even if you’re not covered by Blue Cross, you can consider the coverage; call 844-733-3627 for more information.

>> Keep your insurance ID card safe. Protect it like you would your credit card or any other valuable piece of information.

>> Review the Explanation of Benefits you receive from your insurance carrier or bills you receive from your doctor or hospital. Don’t just throw them in the garbage or delete the e-mail. Did you go to the doctor on the date it says? Did you see that doctor? Did you have that knee surgery?

>> Change your passwords on all your accounts frequently. Don’t use the same password for multiple accounts, and make sure they’re not easy to guess.

These steps are worth taking to prevent criminals from taking your health identity.

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