GRAY MATTERS
Notes, News & Musings on Elder Care

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Identity Theft

sample-medicare-cardMedicare cards presently have the holder’s Social Security Number (SSN) printed on the front of the card. This increases the possibility of identity theft. When President Obama signed a bipartisan bill changing the way healthcare providers are paid by Medicare, that bill also included a provision that affects our Medicare cards, The Bill directs that the Health and Human Services (HHS) remove Social Security Numbers, and refrain from displaying, coding or embedding a person’s SSN on the Medicare card.

Congress allocated $50 million to fund this project, and gave HHS four years to make the change for new enrollees and an additional four years to reissue cards for people already in the system.  HHS will also have to come up with a new card to replace the existing Medicare cards with a number unrelated to the person’s Social Security Number. Strategic planning is in the works now, but it will take some time for HHS to develop a card, a system, and then issue the new cards. The removal of Social Security Numbers from the Medicare cards will provide peace of mind to older adults that their Medicare card will not be used to steal their identity.

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