Healthcare Professionals
April 2014 Issue
Content is updated daily

Congressional Committee Wants To Stop Use Of Social Security Numbers For Medicare ID

In an effort to protect elderly medical patients from identity theft, members of Congress are calling for a halt to the use of a Social Security number as an ID number on Medicare cards.

A recent report released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Inspector General criticized government agencies for failing to protect Medicare beneficiaries from identity theft, and recommended creation of an alternative means of identifying Medicare beneficiaries whose Social Security numbers are stolen. U.S. Representative Sam Johnson (R-TX), Chairman of the Social Security Subcommittee who introduced a bill last year to remove Social Security numbers from Medicare cards, said seniors should not be forced to risk their Social Security information in order to obtain health benefits, and the ID process needs to be changed.

“Seniors are urged to not carry their Social Security card to protect their number, but at the same time they need to carry their Medicare card at all times to get healthcare. This makes no sense,” he said.

Some states, recognizing the vulnerability of SSNs, already prohibit their use during notarizations. Texas, for example, prohibits Notaries from recording a signer’s Social Security number as well as other identification card numbers in a journal entry.

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