By Woodrow Wilcox
One of the agents at our insurance agency asked me for help for one of our clients. The client is from Gary, Indiana. Her problem stemmed from identity theft.
Her bank account was compromised by an identity thief. She had to close that account and open a new one. Before she could alert the insurance company to draft her monthly premium for her Medicare supplement policy from her new checking account, she got sick and was admitted to a hospital.
The insurance company tried to draft the monthly premium from her closed account and the draft was rejected by the bank. The insurance company wrote to our client and asked her if she still wanted to keep her Medicare supplement policy. If she did, she had only thirty days to catch up on payments.
The client never got that letter until she got home from the hospital. By then, the grace period had ended and she no longer had a Medicare supplement insurance policy. With her recent history of medical claims, it will be difficult for our agency to find an insurance company that will take her and issue a new policy. She might not be able to get another Medicare supplement insurance policy for a few years. In that case, she will be responsible for the final 20% of all Medicare approved claims plus all costs for medical services that Medicare does not cover.
I tried very much to convince the insurance company that in such special circumstances the insurance company should allow the senior to catch up on payments for the policy and continue to keep the policy. The senior did not initiate the problem. The senior was a victim of identity theft. She acted correctly to close the account that had been compromised. I tried to convince the insurance company that it would smart business, good public relations, and good client relations to let the senior keep her policy with that company. In this matter, I was unsuccessful.
Seniors are a prime target for identity theft. Imagine someone gaining identity information to rob a senior citizen of savings accounts, checking accounts, credit card accounts, social security checks, pension checks, etc.
One of my friends gives lectures on the problem of identity theft. Sometimes he and I speak together to emphasize the danger to senior citizens. One of the newspaper clips that he shows and discusses in his talks is about a woman almost ready to retire who got a bill from the I. R. S. for over two million dollars in back taxes. She asked how she could owe such a large tax bill when she only makes about $40,000 per year. The I. R. S. told her that she owed that much because of the 85 jobs in 17 states that she had held for years. She hired a private investigator who discovered that someone at a flea market in Texas was selling the victim’s Social Security number to illegal aliens who spread throughout the country to take jobs using the stolen identity information. It cost the woman who was the victim quite a bit to defend herself from the I. R. S.
My friend shows newspaper and magazine clips to expose an even bigger threat to senior citizens. Did you know that some people who work at hospitals, clinics, and doctors’ offices sell the Medicare number and Social Security number of an unsuspecting senior to someone else for money? It happens. In one case, a woman in Ohio was in a car accident and was taken to a hospital. The hospital gave her two pints of blood. She died. It was the wrong blood type. The woman’s medical history was polluted by someone who used her identity to get medical services on her Medicare number and Social Security number. The polluted medical history caused the hospital to give the accident victim the wrong blood type.
In my opinion, laws should be changed to give senior citizens and other citizens more protection. For example, in the case of our senior citizen client, laws should be changed to force insurance companies to take back a client who suffered such circumstances as our client did. In the case of protection against identity theft, it would help if every illegal alien were found and screened for any criminal activity including identity theft. If illegals start life in our country by robbing our citizens of their identities, how can we expect them ever to be good, law abiding citizens?
Note: Woodrow Wilcox is the senior medical bill case worker at a major insurance agency in Indiana. He has saved clients of that insurance agency over one million dollars by fighting mistakes and fraud in the Medicare system. He wrote the book SOLVING MEDICARE PROBLEM$.
© 2016 Woodrow Wilcox