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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Dec 20, 2012.
Medicare Identity Theft Prevention Act of 2012 - Directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to establish cost-effective procedures to ensure that: (1) a Social Security account number (or any derivative) is not displayed, coded, or embedded on the Medicare card issued to an individual entitled to benefits under part A (Hospital Insurance) of title XVIII (Medicare) of the Social Security Act or enrolled under Medicare part B (Supplementary Medical Insurance); and (2) any other identifier displayed on such card is easily identifiable as not being the Social Security account number (or a derivative).
Requires the Secretary, in implementing this Act, to: (1) establish a cost-effective process that involves the least amount of disruption to Medicare beneficiaries and health care providers; and (2) consider implementing a process similar to the one involving Railroad Retirement Board beneficiaries under which the Medicare beneficiary identifier used is not a Social Security account number (or derivative), is external to HHS, and is convertible over to a Social Security account number (or derivative) for use internal to HHS and the Social Security Administration.
Applies these requirements to Medicare cards issued on and after an effective date, specified by the Secretary, which shall not be later than three years after enactment of this Act. Requires reissuance of existing Medicare cards within those three years to comply with this Act, but also permits individuals to apply for reissuance earlier than the official reissuance date. Makes amounts from the Medicare Improvement Fund available for transfer to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Program Management Account to offset the costs of implementing this Act. Requires the Commissioner of Social Security and the Secretary to enter into an agreement for such funding, and keep a detailed accounting for submission to Congress. Directs the Comptroller General (GAO) to examine whether the Medicare program should use smart card technology for Medicare beneficiary cards and provider membership cards.