A good news article on health care identity fraud and its current status.
Theft of health care identity is relatively new; partly because it's only now people are starting to use electronic health care records. Last year, in the stimulus package, the US government allocated billions of dollars to start build a nation wide online health care record system over the next couple of years. So, I think there will be more such incidents than what we currently see.
...It is estimated that the number of identity fraud victims in the United States increased by 12 percent, to 11.1 million adults in 2009, while the total annual fraud amount increased by 12.5 percent, to $54 billion.
"Health insurance-related identity fraud is particularly troublesome because of the relative costs. The average identity fraud victim pays $373, while a health insurance fraud victim pays $2,228, and a health insurance fraud typically is about $12,100 in total, compared with $4,841 for an average identity fraud case."
A simple solution to minimize such frauds is to ask for multiple credentials (driver's license, student photo ID, etc.) along with the health insurance card; it is unlikely an impersonator possesses all these.
This is good news for those who do research in protecting medical records - there is a real need.