There’s no question that the medical system in this country has problems. Health insurance is expensive, and it’s not always available to everyone – even if they can afford it.
So, what happens when you lack insurance, need some kind of important medical care and don’t have an insurance card? If your parent, sibling or best friend has insurance, why not borrow their card, get the urgent care clinic or emergency room visit you want and the medications you need?
It’s been done before, but it’s a crime
These days, it’s difficult to have sympathy for insurance companies – and easy to understand what kind of concerns would drive someone to these measures.
Back in 2019, for example, an Indiana school superintendent reacted emotionally to the illness of an uninsured child. Passing him off as her son, she took him to a clinic and used her insurance card to get him seen and buy antibiotics after he was denied care for lack of insurance at another clinic.
Her noble intentions left her facing insurance fraud charges. While prosecutors were sympathetic and generous with her, she could have been facing years behind bars.
In New York, she may not have gotten such lenient treatment. Insurance fraud that costs the insurer anything under $1,000 is a Class E felony, and the charges only go higher with the amount of money that was lost. It’s possible to face anywhere from a minimum of one year in prison to 25 years behind bars for such an act.
You could also end up facing identity theft charges, especially if you pass yourself off as the person who is insured.
In short, it can be very tempting to borrow someone’s insurance card in an emergency, but it can leave you in bigger trouble than before. If you’ve made a mistake, it’s probably time to find out more about your legal options.