Bipartisan bill would revamp Medicare cards

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Sept. 26, 2011

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A group of lawmakers wants patients to use new Medicare insurance identification cards to help eliminate fraud and waste in the program.

A bipartisan bill introduced in the House and Senate would institute "smart card" technology for Medicare patients to use in doctors' offices and hospitals. The Medicare Common Access Card Act of 2011, introduced on Sept. 14, would establish over two phases the use of ID cards similar to those issued by the Defense Dept. The first phase would test the new cards during a pilot project in regions where there are high rates of health care fraud. HHS would expand the use of the cards a year later.

The patient's Social Security number would not be printed on the card. Physician practices would gain access to beneficiary information electronically.

The proposal is sponsored by Sens. Mark Kirk (R, Ill.), Ron Wyden (D, Ore.) and Marco Rubio (R, Fla.) and Reps. Jim Gerlach (R, Pa.), Earl Blumenauer (D, Ore.) and John Shimkus (R, Ill.).

Note: This item originally appeared at

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