Senator Kirk Meets with Local Seniors to Discuss Medicare Fraud

New Legislation Would Combat Medicare Abuse and Fraud Charges; Common Access Card Modeled from Department of Defense I.D. Cards

CHICAGO–(ENEWSPF)–August 11, 2014.  U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) today met with local senior citizens from Heritage Woods in Chicago, an Illinois Supportive Living program facility, and AARP’s Illinois Associate State Director for Advocacy and Outreach, Carmenza Millan, to discuss Medicare fraud and new legislation which will combat waste, fraud and abuse within the Medicare system. The Medicare Common Access Card Act of 2014 (S. 2586), introduced by Senator Kirk in July of this year, would reform the current Medicare card design utilizing smart technology, which would protect seniors’ personal information and prevent the continued abuse of the system. It is estimated that Medicare fraud costs American taxpayers upwards of $60 million per year.

“With their social security numbers prominently displayed on the front of their Medicare cards, Illinois seniors are at a high risk of becoming a victim of identity fraud,” Senator Kirk said. “I want our seniors to have the same level of identification security as our servicemen and women.”

Based on the cards that the Department of Defense issues to men and women in uniform, S. 2586 would utilize the same type of chip technology in Medicare cards that would store seniors’ personal information electronically. Currently, Medicare cards have a senior’s social security number displayed on the front, along with the rest of their personal information, which puts them at risk of becoming a victim of identity fraud. The chip technology would keep personal security information safe and would allow for seniors to visit their doctor and ensure that billing is accurate following appointments.

The government utilizes a “pay then chase” system, where officials will pay Medicare bills and reimbursements without verifying the accuracy and validity of the charges. Then, if they prove to be inaccurate or fraudulent, officials will attempt to track down those guilty of fraud. American taxpayers are often on the hook for these fraudulent charges and bills, which end up costing millions of dollars a year. Along with Carmenza Millan, Senator Kirk discussed this legislation with a number of local seniors to learn about their experiences with the Medicare system and how this updated system and improved card will assist our seniors in the future.