According to Healthcare IT News, the lion's share of identity theft victims can expect to pay upward of $13,500 to resolve a major identity breach. What's more, about 50 percent of consumers say they would find a new healthcare provider if they became concerned about the security of their medical records.
According to NBCNews.com 2.3 million Americans suffer from medical ID theft, which soared 22 percent in 2014.
These statistics don't include the potential fallout from major data hacks of health insurer Anthem.
These facts should definitely be a wakeup call to medical business owners because identity theft has been the number 1 complaint for the past 15 years according to the FTC.
The problem of identity theft continues to grow in severity, and associated costs. With the workplace ranking as the number one source of identity theft issues and new laws that expose companies to fines and lawsuits for such thefts, employers should consider offering identity theft protection to their employees.
Employers Have a Major Stake
The number one underlying source of identity fraud is theft of employer records. A Michigan State University study found that 51 percent of all identity thefts occur in the workplace, usually perpetrated by people hired to perform low-level tasks, such as data entry.
Protection as an Employee Benefit
One solution against potential fines, fees, and lawsuits is to offer some sort of identity theft protection as an employee benefit. Employers can choose whether or not to pay for this benefit, or give employees the option to accept or decline the identity theft coverage.
The key is to make the protection available by having a mandatory employee meeting on identity theft protection, similar to how most employers used to offer health insurance benefits. If employees opt in for coverage and become identity theft victims, the employer gains because the victimized employees will spend less time and money, and experience less frustration in restoring their identities.
Offering identity theft protection as an employee benefit is becoming a trend, because employers are looking for ways to reduce liability while lowering operating costs, plus it's relatively inexpensive.
Many employees are saying they feel they are being valued more by their employers.
Do Your Homework
There are significant differences among currently available identity theft programs. Many new programs have recently appeared on the market to take advantage of fear and confusion around identity theft issues. It is possible to spend hundreds of dollars on partial solutions that do not effectively prevent employee identity theft or protect the user from harm. Comparison shopping and industry education will pay big dividends.
The services offered tend to fall into three categories:
- Resolution: Credit monitoring, alerts, and instructions for restoring one's identity.
- Reimbursement: Credit monitoring, alerts, includes reimbursement of costs related to identity repair.
- Restoration: Privacy, security & credit monitoring, alerts, comprehensive restoration by licensed fraud investigators.
High quality programs are available, which will significantly reduce the majority of identity theft risks and provide the protection and recovery from harm that you are looking for - timely and proper implementation is the key.
Suzy Harbot and Susan Joseph, LegalShield Associates are available at email@example.com