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Jul 30, 2012

Hearing On Removing SSNs From Medicare Cards -- What Do You Use Instead?

     From a press release:
House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee Chairman Sam Johnson (R-TX) and Health Subcommittee Chairman Wally Herger (R-CA) today announced that the Subcommittees will hold a joint hearing on removing Social Security numbers from beneficiaries’ Medicare cards.  The hearing will take place on Wednesday, August 1, 2012, in 1100 Longworth House Office Building, beginning at 9:30 A.M. ...
In 2008, the Social Security Administration (SSA) Inspector General found that displaying SSNs on beneficiary Medicare cards unnecessarily places millions of Americans at risk for identity theft and recommended that the SSN be removed from Medicare cards.  Also in 2008, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 6600, the “Medicare Identity Theft Prevention Act of 2008,” introduced by Representatives Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) and Sam Johnson (R-TX), directing the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to establish cost-effective procedures to ensure that SSNs are not included on Medicare cards moving forward.  This legislation passed the House by voice vote on September 28, 2008.  Unfortunately, the Senate did not act on this legislation. ...
To date, CMS [Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services] has not developed a plan for removing the SSN from the Medicare card to protect beneficiaries from identity theft and protect taxpayers from fraudulent billing.

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    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Would this really offer a new level of protection? The fraud and risk is not in people getting Medicare cards, it's having to submit your SSN that becomes part of your permanent file with any medical care provider.

    8:07 AM, July 30, 2012  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    It's actually a good idea. Obviously creating an alternate id just for the Medicare number is going to cost some money, but the current system wherein every medical provider in the US maintains identification number by SSNs for all of their Medicare patients is nothing but trouble. It's an identity theft disaster waiting to happen. Medical providers should probably be encouraged to get away from using SSNs as identifiers for any purpose.

    12:33 PM, July 30, 2012  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Blue Cross Blue Shield used to use SSNs for govt employees. When forced to, BCBS figured out how to assign other numbers as IDs. No problem. No reason Medicare can't do the same.

    12:05 AM, July 31, 2012  

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