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Savvy Senior: Are Medicare ID’s secure?

Many people new to Medicare are surprised to learn that the ID number on their Medicare card is identical to their Social Security number (SSN). After all, we’re constantly warned not to carry our SSN around with us, because if it gets lost or stolen, the result could be identity theft. But the Medicare ID is more than an identifier. It’s proof of insurance. Beneficiaries need to show their Medicare card at the doctor’s office and the hospital in order to have Medicare pay for treatment. Over the years, many consumer advocates have called for a new form of Medicare identification. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which administers Medicare, also acknowledges the problem, but so far nothing has been done. One of the main reasons is because it would cost an estimated $255 million to $317 million to fix it. And that’s just the direct cost to the federal government. It doesn’t include the expense for physicians and other health care providers to adjust their systems or the cost to the states.  (Jul 3, 2014 | post #1)