News & Resources

House passes bill to curb identity theft among Medicare beneficiaries

Dec 28, 2012 Dave King

Identity theft has been rising in the United States, especially with the increasing use of online channels to complete electronic payments and store information.

The U.S. House of Representatives is taking steps to stymie the ability of criminals to steal identities through at least one channel. Recently, the federal body passed a bill requesting the government to remove seniors' Social Security numbers from Medicare cards, USA Today reports.

House members were inspired to take steps following an investigation earlier this year that found more than 250,000 people who use Medicare were potential victims of identity theft, according to the news source. However, Medicare officials have resisted re-issuing new cards, as beneficiary numbers are directly tied to Social Security numbers.

"Seniors have spent a lifetime building their financial security," Representative Lloyd Doggett of Texas told the news source. "Their savings and credit should not be put at risk if someone steals their Medicare card."

Representatives Sam Johnson of Texas and Wally Herger of California, who Chairs the House Ways and Means Committee and the Subcommittee on Health, respectively, have been long-standing proponents of Medicare ID card overhaul, The Hill reports.