In April 2018 the Government started handing out new medicare cards to seniors to prevent identity theft. By replacing the previous Medicare cards, the federal government is able to properly secure and protect financial information, as well as the service payments and the benefits of an individual.
These changes will include a unique Medicare 11-digit random number instead of the previous social security number.
As the government starts handing out the new Medicare cards, here are some things you might want to know to avoid fraud:
You Don’t Have to Pay or Do Anything for Your New Card.
People who applied for benefits do not have to pay anything to get their new medicare cards. You’ll just receive your cards through the mail.
Lisa Weintraub Schifferle, a Federal Trade Attorney, strongly urges people to hang up if they receives a phone call regarding the new Medicare card asking for personal information such as social security numbers and/or bank information.
Scammers usually pretend to be someone from Medicare asking the beneficiaries to pay for the new card to continue receiving their benefits. Or they ask for your credit card and bank numbers to “update” your file on their system.
When this happens, it’s important to remember not to disclose any information. Call the Medicare hotline immediately. Medicare doesn’t call its beneficiaries about the new cards.
Your New Card May Not Arrive Right Away.
Don’t worry if you haven’t received your Medicare card yet. The new Medicare cards are scheduled to be mailed out within one year after the initial mailing of April 2018.
The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 prohibits the use of social security numbers for Medicare cards beyond April 2019.
The schedule for the mailing of Medicare cards depends on the state the beneficiary is living in. Residents living in:
- West Virginia
- The District of Columbia
- Delaware, and
are going to be the first ones to receive the new Medicare cards. Beneficiaries from other parts of the country such as:
- The Virgin Islands.
As well as other countries that are covered by the scope of Medicare such as Puerto Rico are more likely going to be the last ones to receive the new card. They should be able to expect their cards to arrive in their mail by the late months of 2018 or early 2019.
Residents of Arizona should be somewhere in the middle.
Make Sure Your Address is Correct on New Medicare Cards
It’s important to make sure to double check your address. If you have recently moved houses, keep your address up to date with the Social Security Administration. You may check your complete address by calling the Social Security Office within your area or logging in here. If you have recently changed address, you can update it at that site.
Your Previous Card is Valid Until 2020
Once you get a hold of your new Medicare card, you can use it immediately. Seniors and retirees who are new to the program will also receive a new card.
A person enrolled in Medicare can use their old card until December 2019. However, it’s better to use the Medicare cards if you already have it. You don’t have to worry about your benefits changing. Nothing will change with the new card.
Protect your Medicare Number
As previously mentioned, the new Medicare card would come with a unique and random 11-digit number. The new Medicare cards also make sure that the numbers are legible and readable. In order to avoid confusion, the number doesn’t have the letters S, L, O, B, Z, and I
Never share your new Medicare number to unauthorized personnel. As much as possible only disclose your number to
- Insurance companies, or
- Someone whom you trust.
Keep Your other Medicare Cards for a Little While Longer.
Once you receive your new card, you might think of disposing of your old one. Instead hold onto it for a little while longer. People may still ask you to present your old card. It’s also useful when you have another plan for your medications or prescription drugs (i.e. Medicare Part D).
Make Sure to Dispose of Your Previous Cards Properly.
When you decide to get rid of old cards, make sure that the social security number that is written on it is unrecognizable. Shredding is one effective way to destroy the older cards.
Scammed? Call the Local Hotlines Immediately
Don’t give out any information if you receive a phone call asking for something in exchange for your new card. Make sure not to give any personal information. Otherwise you might become a victim of identity theft.
If this happens, you may contact the Medical fraud hotline 800-447-8477 or the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services at 800-633-4227. You can ask for a different Medicare number if you feel like you’ve disclosed this information to other people.
If you want to know more about Medicare, don’t hesitate to give us a call at (623) 295-9890 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also fill out an online form located on our homepage. We’d be happy to talk to you about planning for your elderly loved one’s affairs. We can even help you find local experts to help you with pressing concerns.