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New bill would require more secure Medicare cards

August 6, 2015
In The News

Con­gress­man Brendan Boyle joined a bi­par­tis­an co­ali­tion on Ju­ly 28 to in­tro­duce the Medi­care Com­mon Ac­cess Card Act (H.R. 3220), a bill that would re­quire the De­part­ment of Health and Hu­man Ser­vices to ini­ti­ate a smart card pi­lot pro­gram and is­sue new, more se­cure Medi­care cards to se­lect par­ti­cipants. 

These new cards would bet­ter pro­tect per­son­al in­form­a­tion by mov­ing it from the front of the card to a se­cure, en­cryp­ted mi­cro­chip in­ser­ted in­to the card. The chip would keep per­son­al in­form­a­tion more se­cure from fraud, hack­ing and iden­tity threats, while en­sur­ing Medi­care be­ne­fi­ciar­ies that their billing is ac­cur­ate when they vis­it their doc­tors.

“This le­gis­la­tion rep­res­ents an im­port­ant mod­ern­iz­a­tion and se­cur­ity im­prove­ment for Medi­care re­cip­i­ents and the doc­tors who treat them,” Boyle stated in a Ju­ly 28 news re­lease. “It will help cut down on the bil­lions of dol­lars a year lost to waste, fraud and ab­use in Medi­care while pro­tect­ing seni­ors from se­cur­ity threats and up­dat­ing our out­dated billing sys­tem.”

Ac­cord­ing to the non­par­tis­an Of­fice of Man­age­ment and Budget, an es­tim­ated $60 bil­lion each year is lost to waste, fraud and ab­use in Medi­care. Us­ing a smart card would up­date and cor­rect the “pay and chase” sys­tem in which the gov­ern­ment pays Medi­care re­im­burse­ments without first veri­fy­ing the valid­ity of the charges. In cases when charges prove fraud­u­lent, the gov­ern­ment must then at­tempt to re­coup the il­le­git­im­ate re­im­burse­ments. ••