In an effort to protect seniors from identity theft and combat fraud in the Medicare system, U.S. Congressman Robert Dold (IL-10) and U.S. Congressman Peter Roskam (IL-6) today unveiled a bill updating Medicare cards to safeguard seniors' personal information and reduce medicare fraud, which costs taxpayers upwards of $60 billion per year. The Medicare Common Access Card Act of 2015 (H.R. 3220) would keep seniors personal information secure by updating Medicare cards using chip technology similar to that in cards issued by the Department of Defense.
"Right now, social security numbers and other personal information are on the front of Medicare cards, leaving seniors at severe risk of identity theft," Rep. Dold said. "The Medicare Common Access Card would keep seniors personal information secure by updating Medicare cards using chip technology similar to that in cards issued by the Department of Defense. This will protect our seniors from fraud and save taxpayers billions of dollars per year."
"We have a responsibility to our seniors to advance commonsense steps like this to ensure Medicare remains solvent far into the future. Revolutionizing Medicare cards by installing smart chip technology will help prevent fraud and improper payments on the front end and save this critical program billions of dollars annually," Rep. Roskam said. "I am proud to join with Congressman Dold in introducing this important legislation to fight Medicare fraud and ensure seniors receive the care they deserve."
Currently, the 55 million Americans enrolled in Medicare use cards that display their social security numbers and other personal information on the front, putting them at risk of identity theft. The Medicare Common Access Card Act would utilize the same type of chip technology the Department of Defense uses in cards issued to men and women in uniform to make Medicare cards more secure. The chip technology would keep personal information secure and would give Medicare beneficiaries assurances their billing is accurate when they visit their doctor.
The new cards would also combat waste, fraud and abuse in Medicare - which costs taxpayers an estimated $60 billion each year - by addressing the flawed "pay and chase" system. Currently, the government pays Medicare reimbursements without first verifying the validity of the charges, and then, if the charges prove to be fraudulent, attempts to track down those responsible. The Common Access Card will help stop fraud before it happens by adding a layer of security to Medicare transactions and ensuring patients and their providers billing Medicare are who they say they are.
The bill was introduced with bipartisan support in the House (H.R. 3220) and in the Senate (S. 1871) by U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (IL) and U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (FL).
"Seniors in Illinois should have the same level of security as our servicemen and women," Sen. Kirk said. "By modernizing Medicare cards we can prevent abuse and protect our seniors from fraud."
The Congressmen made the announcement during a tour of Zebra in Lincolnshire, an innovative technology company providing solutions to streamline healthcare and enhance patient safety.