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Medicare tests alternative to fraud-fighting smart card

InformationWeek, September 30, 2011

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is already looking at an alternative to the smart card system that new Congressional bills are proposing that are designed to fight Medicare fraud. Unlike the system envisioned in this legislation, which would require a new data network dedicated to Medicare, the pilot underway in Indianapolis uses magnetic-stripe cards that can be read by conventional credit-card terminals. Proponents say that this system, which would verify the identities of providers, patients, and suppliers, would be much cheaper and easier to launch than the dedicated network. Advocates of the smart-card system argue that the credit-card terminal approach is less reliable and uses a technology that will soon be obsolete.