Medicare beneficiaries as well as providers could be issued electronically readable cards—with magnetic stripes, bar codes and “smart” cards that can process data—as replacements for the current paper-based cards which display Social Security numbers, according to the Government Accountability Office.

Such cards could help reduce certain types of Medicare fraud through the authentication of beneficiary and provider identity at the point of care, electronically exchanging beneficiary medical information, and electronically conveying beneficiary identity and insurance information to providers, argues a new GAO report.

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