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Precautions to take with new Medicare cards to protect your identity

Senior citizens need to be careful as the new Medicare cards come to not full victim to many scams out there. In an effort by the federal government; they have started mailing the new cards which have an 11-digit identification number for each enrollee to replace your Social Security number. About 59 million beneficiaries will receive the cards automatically in the next year. It is important seniors make sure their address is current and up to date with the Social Security Administration.

Required by Congress, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services had until April 2019 to remove the Social Security numbers from all Medicare cards. There is a new identifier which contains a mix of both number and letters. When seniors receive their new card, the old card should be destroyed, then give their new card to their different medical providers.

About 21.5 seniors that are using Medicare Advantage should continue to use the cards which were provided by their insurance carriers which do not have a social security number. Providers might still want a copy of the new Medicare card.

While this effort by design is to help in minimizing fraud, it’s sparked a number scams. Medicare wants all enrollees to understand (if your address in correct you do not have to do anything.) There are no fees or any activation process when receiving your card. Medicare does not ever initiate any phone calls or ask you to verify any information over the phone.

If “Anyone is calling you for any personal information or any fanatical information, just hang up! This is the advice of Amy Nofziger who is a fraud expert with AARP. If someone is contacted, they can report these scams to the federal government. 1.800.Medicare.

Another scam is being told you have a refund on the old Medicare card. Then being asked to provided bank information to allow them to process and return the funds. Just hang up!

Most seniors will not know much about their new Medicare card which will make them more vulnerable to the many scams perpetrated by scam artists. According to Nofziger, 75% of those responding to a survey by AARP had said they knew nothing to very little when it came to the card redesign and as many as 60% felt they could face some type of fee.