We’ve all been told not to carry our Social Security cards with us. We all know that we’re supposed to keep our Social Security cards locked up at home somewhere. If the card is lost or stolen, identity theft and credit fraud become huge risks, and could result in the loss of thousands of dollars, erroneous arrest warrants, medical ID theft, and a plummeting credit score.
So why is it that more than 40 million people covered by Medicare are forced to carry their SSN? It’s simple. Medicare prints their beneficiaries’ SSN directly on the card.
Medicare officials claim that issuing new cards to the 40 million beneficiaries would be “a huge undertaking” that would cost $500 million to update, take three years to plan, and another eight years to implement.
They also worry that issuing new cards might “startle or alarm” current beneficiaries. As if learning you’re months behind in mortgage payments on a house you didn’t know about wouldn’t be startling. Receiving a $40,000 medical bill for the amputation of your left foot would probably be alarming. And having a sheriff’s deputy come to the door with an arrest warrant for a crime they didn’t commit would probably be both startling and alarming. All of these things have happened to real people. (more…)