Bilirakis Initiative to Protect Seniors is Finally Implemented
Washington, DC: This week, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is finally taking action on a measure to protect seniors from identity theft, which Congressman Gus Bilirakis first began championing in 2013. As a newly appointed member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, Bilirakis filed the Medicare Abuse Prevention (MAP) Act, which required Medicare identification cards to contain a Medicare ID Number rather than the participant’s Social Security number. Throughout the past five years, Bilirakis has never stopped pushing for this common sense reform because identity theft, especially cases targeting vulnerable seniors, has been an increasing problem throughout the Tampa Bay area. Bilirakis has hosted numerous forums in which seniors in his district are able to learn from experts about how to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft. Chief among the suggestions of law enforcement is greater protection of one’s Social Security number. Congressman Bilirakis repeatedly heard concerns from constituents that this advice was difficult to adhere to given the prominent display of personally identifiable information on their Medicare card, which is required to be presented so frequently in order to receive health care. CMS will be distributing the first group of new cards this week to those who are newly enrolling in Medicare. Current beneficiaries in Florida will be sent updated cards from CMS in June. For more information, please visit https://www.medicare.gov/NewCard/.
“Ronald Reagan once said that you can accomplish great things if you don’t care who gets the credit. Today, we are seeing a great example of that. This idea came directly from constituents in our community, as the best ideas always do. I believe that this change will help protect seniors in my district and around the country from identity theft, which is why I never stopped fighting for the idea. I look forward to its full implementation later this summer, and to the day when seniors can feel a little more secure in handing over their id cards without worrying about being victimized,” said Congressman Bilirakis.