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Medicare card with red circle showing where Social Security number appearsMedicare card will finally drop Social Security number

One of many provisions added to bill to increase pay for doctors in Medicare program

April 21, 2015 - One of the many - and probably better things - buried in the bill passed by Congress and signed by the President to increase the pay for doctors caring for Medicare patients is a provision that will finally remove a seniors Social Security number from their Medicare card.

Many seniors and their advocates have long protested this practice, because it so frequently exposes that number that is used so often for personal identification. Even the Social Security Administration had protested this practice.

It is finally going to happen. And, as you would assume, there will be a cost. The Congress allocated $320 million to fund the transition.

The best report on this memorable event was written by Robert Pear of the New York Times.

"Concerned about the rising prevalence and sophistication of identity theft, most private health insurance companies have abandoned the use of Social Security numbers to identify individuals. The federal government even forbids private insurers to use the numbers on insurance cards when they provide medical or drug benefits under contract with Medicare." Read more at The New York Times: New Law To Strip Social Security Numbers From Medicare Cards.

Medicare, too, has long been aware of the dangers to seniors that is created by their Social Security number being exposed so often, particularly around medical offices. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services published a pdf document - Protecting Yourself and Medicare from Fraud.

Protect yourself from identity theft

When someone steals your identity, they could use your personal information without your consent to commit fraud or other crimes. Personal information includes your name, Social Security, Medicare, credit card, or bank account numbers. Guard your cards, and keep your information safe.

If you suspect identity theft, or think you gave your personal information to someone you shouldn’t have, call the Federal Trade Commission’s ID Theft Hotline at 1‑877‑438‑4338. TTY users should call 1-866-653-4261. Visit to learn more about identity theft.

If you’re in danger (for example, if someone is pressuring or intimidating you), call your local police department immediately.

Note: If your Medicare or Social Security card is lost or stolen, or if you need a new card, visit, or call Social Security at 1‑800‑772‑1213.

TTY users should call 1-800-325-0778. If you get benefits from the Railroad Retirement Board, visit, or call 1‑877‑772‑5772.

Related Medicare News from our Archives

Wealthy seniors to pay more for Medicare under bill passed to fix doctor pay

April 15, 2015 - Medicare’s troubled physician payment formula will soon be history, Congress passed bill and here is what it says

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