Know about Medicare card changes to protect seniors from scams
Medicare is finally taking a big step to protect all 60 million beneficiaries from fraud and identity theft. They’re issuing new cards that don’t use a person’s Social Security number as an identifier.
Today, con artists try to get Medicare numbers or personal information from trusting older adults. Then, because they have the Social Security number, they use that information to steal the older adult’s money or identity or to commit Medicare fraud.
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is working hard to let everyone know about the upcoming changes so seniors won’t be more vulnerable scams during the transition. They even made a helpful 30 second video clip to share the essential facts.
We’ve summarized the 6 key facts you need to know about the new Medicare card and transition process. And to help you protect your older adult from fraud, we explain how to avoid the 3 most common scams related to the new cards.
6 key facts to know about the new Medicare card
1. Social Security numbers will not be on the card
The new Medicare card will have a unique, randomly-assigned number that replaces the current Social Security-based number. It will be called the Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI).
2. Medicare coverage and benefits will not change
Getting a new Medicare card and number will not change the coverage or benefits that people with Medicare are currently receiving. The new MBI number will be used for billing and for checking eligibility and claim status.
There will also be a 21-month transition period where doctors, healthcare providers, and suppliers will be able to use either the old Social Security number-based Medicare number or the new Medicare MBI number.
3. The card replacement will begin in April 2018
In April 2018, CMS will start mailing the new cards to people with Medicare benefits. It may take until April 2019 for everyone to get their new cards.
The card replacement will all happen automatically. Older adults won’t have to pay anyone or give anyone information – no matter what a con artist might say.
4. Medicare will never ask for personal information to get the new card
Medicare will never ask older adults to give personal or private information to get their new Medicare number and card.
5. There’s no charge for the new Medicare card
There is absolutely no fee to get the new card. If anyone says otherwise, that’s a big red flag that it’s a scam.
6. The 2018 Medicare & You Handbook shows the new card design
You can see the design of the new Medicare card in the 2018 Medicare & You Handbook. The handbooks are being mailed and will arrive in September.
3 scams to avoid during the transition to new Medicare cards
Fraudsters take advantage of times when things are changing and it’s more difficult to spot a scam. To protect your older adult from Medicare card scams, educate them about 3 common techniques that con artists may use.
These scammers often claim to be calling from Medicare and will lie and cheat to try to get your older adult’s current Social Security number-based Medicare number.
1. Ask your older adult to confirm their Medicare number or Social Security number so a new card can be mailed out.
- This is a scam. Medicare will not call about the new card and they won’t ask for your older adult’s Social Security number.
2. Tell your older adult there will be a charge for the new card, so they need to verify their personal information, bank information, or credit card information.
- This is a scam. The new Medicare card is free. Plus, they will not call to ask about bank information.
3. Threaten to cancel your older adult’s health benefits if they don’t share their current Medicare number or other personal information.
- This is a scam. The new card will not affect Medicare benefits.
Where to get more information
For more information about the new Medicare card, visit the CMS new card information page.
If a scammer calls you or your older adult to ask for their Medicare number or other personal information, hang up immediately. Then, report it by calling 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) or by going to the FTC website.
Recommended for you:
- 5 Ways to Prevent Elder Fraud
- 3 Top Senior Scams to Watch Out For: Advice From the FBI
- Prevent Elder Fraud by Getting Rid of Junk Mail
By DailyCaring Editorial Team
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