House Approves Legislation to Prevent Use of SS Numbers on Medicare Cards; Ros-Lehtinen Says This Bill Ramps Up Fight Against Medicare Fraud

Dec 21, 2012

Washington, D.C.  – The House passed legislation aimed at preventing the use of Social Security Account numbers on Medicare cards as part of the continuing fight against Medicare fraud.

The “Medicare Identity Theft Prevention Act” (H.R. 1509) will be a valuable tool in helping reduce Medicare fraud.  Social Security numbers have become the identifier of choice and are used for many everyday business transactions. 

The risk of ID theft goes far beyond an individual’s card being stolen. Every medical record at nursing homes, hospitals, and doctor offices has a Social Security number written on it. The wholesale amount of Social Security numbers that are available to identity thieves is staggering and completely unnecessary.

This bill reinforces a key point in Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen’s legislation, H.R. 3735, the “Medicare Fraud Enforcement & Prevention Act” which was introduced earlier in this session of Congress. That bill would create a new criminal offense punishable with a 10 year minimum sentence for those who knowingly sell or distribute the ID numbers of Medicare beneficiaries. 

Said Ros-Lehtinen, “I am pleased that the House approved this bill with strong support from both parties. South Florida has been the epicenter of Medicare fraud over the years and its way past time Congress ramp up its efforts in combating this waste and abuse.  Medicare corruption in South Florida alone costs taxpayers between $3 and $4 billion every year. This bill is an important first step in trying to cut fraud and help eliminate these huge costs associated with it.”