Filed Under:Health Insurance, Medicare

Investigators: CMS needs better identity theft database

Officials said CMS needs to do more to protect victims' access to benefits.
Officials said CMS needs to do more to protect victims' access to benefits.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) should try to get away from basing Medicare numbers on Social Security numbers, according to officials at the Office of the Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS OIG).

HHS OIG officials have included that recommendation in a report on how CMS Medicare program managers have handled breaches of Medicare enrollee information and actual cases of Medicare-related identity theft.

Another problem is that CMS usually creates Medicare numbers by adding the letter A to the end of an enrollee's Social Security number, or by adding B to the end of the Social Security number of an enrollee's breadwinner spouse.

Today, there is no easy way to issue enrollees new Medicare numbers because of the Social Security number link, officials said.

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Nichole Morford

Nichole Morford
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