Your New Medicare Card is Coming – What You Need to Know

Your New Medicare Card is Coming – What You Need to Know

Your New Medicare Card is Coming – What You Need to Know

 When you became eligible for health insurance through Medicare, you received a Medicare card. Whenever you needed medical treatment, you presented this card to your doctor or hospital.

On your Medicare card, there is a Medicare Claim Number. That identifies you for Medicare’s purposes. Until now, the Medicare Claim Number has been your Social Security number followed by a letter of the alphabet.

Identity Theft

Identity theft has been a major problem here in the United States for more than 20 years now. Criminals steal a person’s personal data and run up charges on their credit cards or steal their money.

There are many different ways they do this. Some of the more common are:

  • They buy items on the person’s credit cards.
  • They drain their bank accounts.
  • They make claims against their insurance plans.
  • They file tax returns in the person’s name and get their tax refunds.
  • They get medical care for themselves in the person’s name.

It may be quite a while before a person whose identity has been stolen finds out it has happened. When they finally do, it is a real nightmare.  They have to prove they didn’t do it. They also spend a lot of time trying to recover what they lost and correcting the damage that has been done to them.

One of the Easiest Ways for a Criminal to Start to Steal a Person’s Identity is With Their Social Security Number

When it comes to older people, all the criminal needs is their Medicare card. Getting their Social Security number from it is an important part of the process.

Congress was pressured to do something to protect older people and to prevent this from happening. So, they are requiring Medicare remove the Social Security numbers from all Medicare cards by April of 2019.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid are creating new 11-digit identification numbers for everyone enrolled in Medicare. They have to send a new card with this new number to each person by April of 2019.

There are about 60 million people on Medicare. It is impossible for all of the new cards to be sent at one time. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid have a schedule of when they will mail the new cards to those on Medicare in each state.

They started mailing the new cards last month (May of 2018) to people in these states and territories:

Alaska

California

Delaware

District of Columbia

Hawaii

Maryland

Oregon

Pennsylvania

Virginia

West Virginia

American Samoa

Guam

Northern Mariana Islands

They expected to complete the mailing of all cards to people on Medicare in these states in a month.

Currently they are not saying when they will mail the new cards to the people here in Tennessee. Several months ago, they indicated the cards probably wouldn’t be mailed until sometime in 2019.

If you want to track the mailing of cards or get an email when your card is being mailed, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid have created a web page for this. You can get to it by clicking here.

Criminals Are Still Trying to Take Advantage of Older People

Needless to say, criminals have found ways to take advantage of older people now and rip them off as the new cards are being issued.  Here are 2 ways they are doing it:

  • Older people are being called and told they have to pay for their new Medicare card. They are being told how to make the payment. Please be aware. This is a scam. There is no charge for the new card.
  • Older people are also being called and told that since the new card is coming out, there is an unused balance on their old cards which they are entitled to. They are being asked for their Social Security number and other identification information. When they give it, they are told the balance will be sent to them. This is a scam.  There is no unused balance on any card. The callers are requesting this information to steal their identities.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid wants you to know “Medicare will never call uninvited and ask you to give personal information or money to get your new Medicare Number or card.”

If You are a Younger Person Reading This, . . .

. . . please pass this information along to your parent or parents. Talk to them about it. Make sure they are aware of what is happening. You don’t want them to be victimized in this process.

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If you have any comments on what you have read here, I’d like to hear them. So, please email them to me. Also – if you have any ideas about subjects you would like o to see discussed in future posts, please send me an email and let me know. My email address is bob.ooablog@gmail.com.