Is the Medicare information that doctors, hospitals, and insurance companies have about you, your parents, or your grandparents well protected? The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) oversees the Medicare program, which covers nearly 58 million aged and disabled Americans. Federal spending for Medicare benefits totaled approximately $696 billion in fiscal year 2016. Every dollar that is spent on Medicare is connected to someone’s personal information, and if that information is not carefully secured, it could result in financial fraud. Today’s WatchBlog explores how CMS protects Medicare data. Who Can See Medicare Information? As part of running the Medicare program, CMS shares data on Medicare recipients with other groups for three major reasons:
- Medicare Administrative Contractors (MAC) use this data to process the payment of Medicare benefits.
- Researchers use this data to study how recipients get health care services.
- “Qualified entities”—public or private organizations responsible for reporting on provider performance for one or more locations—use this data to determine how well Medicare service providers and equipment suppliers are performing.