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Medicare address management issues run rampant on nationwide scale

Paul Newman Archive

Address management has always been an important area of focus for all organizations, but that's especially the case today. Given the ubiquity of modern technology and the numerous fraudsters out there lurking, it's critical that everyone keep consumers' private information safe and secure.

For an example of the negative side effects that can stem from improper care of people's contact information, look no further than the Medicare system in the United States, which has had numerous problems in recent years with collecting people's addresses, ensuring their accuracy and keeping all information up to date.

According to Reuters, issues with Medicare recipients have been rampant nationwide. The news source reported that in the two-year period spanning 2010 and 2011, over 13,000 people received notices that their personal information was mailed to the wrong addresses because of printing errors.

Further compounding this problem is a blatant lack of federal oversight. Reuters noted that there's no federal agency or law enforcement office specifically assigned to track Medicare or Social Security data, which means that problems with information management, while widely acknowledged, are difficult to diagnose with any precision. Nevertheless, Sally Hurme, project adviser in health education and outreach at AARP, insists that trouble with data quality and fraud is a constant issue.

"What I hear from law enforcement is that it's rampant," Hurme says.

Because there's been such a lack of oversight for address management in the public sector, individual consumers have been left to do the work for themselves. They're forced to double- and triple-check their private information, and with fraud always a lingering issue, they have to take especially good care of their ID cards and other sources of info.

This shouldn't be the case. Ideally, government offices would take care of their own data issues, striving for quality and accuracy and keeping consumers' information safe.