Medicare Card Revisions

When a practice seeks social security numbers from patients, they often find patients hesitant to provide this information for fear of identity theft.  Yet, if the patient is a Medicare beneficiary, their social security number is printed on their card for all to see.  This has been highly scrutinized for years by security experts concerned about the risk to beneficiaries. 

The recent legislation signed by President Obama repealing the SGR formula also included a provision to remove social security numbers from Medicare cards.  This will not occur immediately; Medicare officials have up to four years to start issuing cards with new identifiers. They have four more years to reissue cards held by current beneficiaries.  Complete details of the changes are not yet known. 

With the large number of baby boomers soon to be enrolling with Medicare, this change is a positive step to reducing identity theft, which often results in financial loss for those involved. 

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