Legislation introduced in the House of Representatives on Tuesday would add chip technology to Medicare identification cards to better protect seniors and to prevent waste, fraud, and abuse.
Under the Medicare Common Access Card (CAC) Act, Medicare cards would use the same chip technology that the Department of Defense (DoD) currently uses to verify the identities of men and women in uniform.
U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL), a sponsor of the bill, noted that waste and fraud cost the Medicare program more than $60 billion each year.
“The CAC Act brings about much-needed innovation to the Medicare system by making sure claims are verified using smart chip technology,” Roskam said. “By implementing this easy-to-use tool into Medicare we reduce fraud, save taxpayers billions of dollars and improve patient care.”
The Medicare Common Access Card would also address the “pay and chase” reimbursement system in which reimbursements are paid before they’re verified. The chip technology would verify the identities of patients and billing providers to help prevent fraud before it occurs.
“Our seniors place a lot of trust in Medicare,” U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), a sponsor of the bill, said. “As we see more and more hacks of sensitive information, we need to do everything we can to ensure the federal government protects the personal information and identity of seniors. This commonsense legislation will not only better protect Medicare beneficiaries against identity theft, but also the integrity of the Medicare program.”
Industry groups and businesses like the Secure ID Coalition and Zebra Technologies have come out in support of the CAC Act.
“The Medicare Common Access Card Act empowers the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to use best of breed technology to protect seniors’ identity and verify Medicare transactions before they are paid, not after,” Kelli Emerick, the executive director of the Secure ID Coalition, said. “This simple change could help process provider payments more quickly and save Medicare billions of dollars. It’s a triple-win: for seniors, for Medicare providers and, most importantly, for the American taxpayer.”
Jim Kaput, the senior vice president and general counsel for Zebra Technologies, said everyone benefits from modernizing Medicare to enhance cybersecurity and to streamline benefits payments.