Social Security Numbers Still Appear on Medicare Cards

Lawmakers say practice is an invitation to identity theft


House members sharply criticized the agency overseeing the Medicare program for not removing Social Security numbers from beneficiary identification cards, even though the practice exposes patients to identity theft.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services insists it is committed to protecting patient privacy. But changing the identification system would take up extensive cost, time and staff, a CMS official told the House Ways and Means Committee during an Aug. 1 hearing.