WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwire - Nov 28, 2012) - The Secure ID Coalition (SIDC) testified today before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health regarding innovative options in combating waste, fraud and abuse within the Medicare system -- a problem that needlessly costs American taxpayers upwards of $98 billion yearly.
Neville Pattinson, Gemalto's senior vice president, testified on behalf of the SIDC at today's hearing titled Examining Options To Combat Health Care Waste, Fraud, and Abuse to discuss the Medicare Common Access Card Act (H.R. 2925) and how it can prevent more than fifty percent of fraudulent activity -- as well as helping to safeguard seniors against identity theft -- by simply upgrading the current paper Medicare card to a secure smart card.
"Our nation's Medicare system is under attack," said Pattinson. "Medicare abuse and fraud needlessly costs American taxpayers billions of dollars every year. An April 2012 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association estimated that fraud and abuse cost Medicare and Medicaid as much as $98 billion dollars in 2011. Despite many good faith estimates, however, the true cost of fraud and abuse in health care remains unknown."
The Medicare Common Access Card Act calls for a pilot program to modernize the current Medicare card in order to verify both providers and beneficiaries as legitimate participants in the program. In it, five regional pilots would test upgrading the current paper Medicare card to a secure smart card, similar to those used today by the Department of Defense, all Federal employees, and even the current US Passport, over 75 million of which have been issued.
The pilots would do three important things. First, it would reduce the number of fraudulent transactions by eliminating ways fraudsters can scam Medicare. Secondly, it would only allow authenticated transactions, creating significant efficiencies within the Medicare program which will provide enormous benefit to legitimate providers and their patients. And lastly -- and some would say most importantly -- it would remove the Social Security number from the front of the Medicare card, immediately protecting seniors from identity theft and fraud.
"If we are to ever curb fraud, waste and abuse within the Medicare system," Pattinson continued, "we need to start verifying those who are authorized to provide services, verify those who are authorized to receive benefits, and prevent those who are unauthorized from ever entering the system. This will not only save taxpayers billions of dollars every year, but ensure that Medicare survives to serve Americans now and well into the future."
For more information, contact Anne DiGiulio at 202-464-4000
About the Secure ID Coalition:
Founded in 2005, the Secure ID Coalition works with industry experts, public policy officials, and federal and state agency personnel to promote identity policy solutions that enable both security and privacy protections. Because of our commitment to citizen privacy rights and protections we advocate for technology solutions that enable individuals to make decisions about the use of their own personal information. Members of the Secure ID Coalition subscribe to principles that include the increased deployment of secure identity solutions, as well as advise on and advocate for strong consumer privacy protections and enhanced security to reduce waste, fraud, theft and abuse. Our mission is to promote the understanding and appropriate use of smart card technology to achieve enhanced security for ID management systems while maintaining user privacy. Such ID management systems include physical and/or logical access to facilities and networks. For more information, please visit our website at www.secureIDcoalition.org.