At long last, Congress passes law to strip Social Security numbers from Medicare cards

Robert Pear reports that although the federal government already prohibits private insurers using Social Security numbers on insurance cards when they provide benefits under contract with Medicare, Medicare itself has continued to issue new Medicare cards with Social Security numbers imprinted on them.

And as anyone who hasn’t been asleep through the past decade knows, that’s been a recipe for identity theft and tax refund fraud.

That is about to change, Pear reports, because President Obama signed a bill last week that will end the use of those numbers on Medicare cards.

But if you already have a Medicare card, don’t expect a replacement card soon. Pear reports:

Medicare officials have up to four years to start issuing cards with new identifiers. They have four more years to reissue cards held by current beneficiaries. They intend to replace the Social Security number with “a randomly generated Medicare beneficiary identifier,” but the details are still being worked out.

Read more on New York Times.

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