smart ID card for Medicare bill submited

A new bill for upgrading Medicare subscribers identification card has been recently submitted to the Congress. For a good start it has bipartisan support among its sponsors, congresmen Jim Gerlach (R), Earl Blumenauer (D) and senators Ron Wyden (D) and Mark Kirk (R). Among primary goals of the bill are patient service improvement and closing system’s loopholes. The room for improvement is substantial as only in 2010 it’s estimated that $60 blllion was lost to waste and $48b of it was in fraudulent Medicare claims. The proposed pilot program is also supported by senior’s rights advocate Wilfred Brimley and AARP.
The plan is to replace current Medicare identification cards with the solution tested by Department of Defense. Common Access Card (CAC) which is a smart card with chip storing encrypted personal data would be a major upgrade from the card being used now. As of now medicare has a full Social Security Number printed on it. It’s enough to be said that you don’t want to carry anything with full SSN on it with you as it’s a primary target of identity thieves. In regards to closing the loopholes the new systems allows for tracking the services and confirming that care was actually provided as opposed to old school ‘Pay then Chase’ system.
Bipartisan support, senior groups support, widely tested solution, saving $60b a year, do we have a winner here? Not yet, lets see what healtcare industry has to say. Nothing wrong with eliminating waste and improving security but one need to be carefull not to throw the baby with the bathwater.

ID card

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