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Medicare to Begin Using Chip ID Badges?

ID CardsCongress recently introduced a legislation proposal for creating three projects for the purpose of testing out Medicare smart ID badges for patient identification. This is a similar concept to what is being used by credit card companies and would be used for the purpose of reducing fraud. However, the credit cards use a signature for authentication while the new Medicare ID badges will use a PIN system as an added security measure.

There have already been a few versions of the Medicare Common Access Act of 2015 that have been introduced in the House and Senate. This legislation will aim to reduce the risk of identity theft along with other unlawful uses of the identifying information of Medicare beneficiaries. This legislation has been introduced in response the signing of a bill, by President Obama, that will provide $320 million to remove SSNs from Medicare ID badges. This funding was given with an intended goal of four years. This has a been a recommendation for years, and while the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) agrees, the lack of progress falls on the absence of appropriate funding. This bill aims to alleviate that financial challenge.

As of May 2014, according to a recent GAO report, HHS is aware of 284,000 Medicare beneficiary numbers that have been compromised and potentially used for the submission of fraudulent claims. It’s also estimated that incorrect payments made by the government this year will equate to around $187 billion and 48% of those wasted funds will be attributed to the Medicare system.

It’s obvious that there needs to be some adjustments in the Medicare system to avoid such huge amounts of wasted funds to do fraudulent claims. The chips in the proposed Medicare ID badges will store the beneficiary’s identification information and will replace the current paper cards that display the individual’s SSN. The new ID badges would help to create a system where it’s definitively understand which beneficiary saw which provider. It will also serve to more easily identify transactions and allow for faster payment to providers. (bankinfosecurity.com)

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