Biometrics take fraud fighting to new frontier

Using biometrics to verify identity isn't only for "Star Trek" characters and the financial services industry anymore: Biometrics may play a key role in preventing and detecting health insurance fraud, according to Insurance Thought Leadership.

Biometric authentication is the process of identifying people by their distinctive physical or behavioral patterns or traits. Physiological biometrics include fingerprints, palm prints and DNA as well as face, iris, retina and hand recognition. Behavioral biometrics include gait, voice and even typing rhythm.

By confirming identity through physiological or behavioral characteristics, biometrics can protect security. For example, researchers found a way to encrypt a heartbeat and use the encryption as a biometric security identifier for implanted medical devices, as FierceHealthIT reported.

Healthcare organizations also can use biometrics to fight fraud. "Insurance companies [that] are first to adopt this kind of technology will push the fraudsters over to the competition, because fraudsters don't want their face or voice on a database that they can't control," Steve Cook, director of business development at Facebanx, told Insurance Thought Leadership.

Some payers use biometrics to reduce billing fraud by eliminating insurance card sharing between patients. Biometrics also can make it harder for criminals to commit medical identity theft, which constituted 43 percent of all identity thefts reported nationwide last year. Instead of using traditional paper or plastic health insurance identification cards, for example, an iris scan can document a member's  presence at the site of healthcare services, the article noted.

Still, health insurance lags behind other industries in leveraging biometric science, Insurance Thought Leadership reported. And using biometric security measures on a large scale can be costly and raise privacy concerns.

For more:
- read the Insurance Thought Leadership article

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