58 million Medicare beneficiaries will receive new Medicare cards beginning April 2018. CMS hopes to have all of the cards mailed by April 2019. You do not need to do anything to have the card mailed to you. As long as Medicare and Social Security have your current address, the card will automatically be mailed to you. Don’t be concerned if you don’t receive your card the same time as your spouse or your neighbor receives their card. The new cards will have a new Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) and will consist of 11 letters and numbers, which are “non-intelligent, “ meaning they have no connection to any personal information about you, such as date of birth or where you were born, etc. It is hoped that assigning beneficiaries a new random number will help alleviate identity theft and Medicare fraud.
It is important to note that your coverage or benefits will not change and that your Medigap (supplemental) insurance will not be affected.
As is expected, scams relating to the new card are already surfacing. According to the Justice Department, the number of identity theft cases for people over 65 was 2.6 million in 2014. Each year, the numbers go up. Here are three common tactics scammers are using:
Rip-off artists call beneficiaries and tell them they can speed up the process of receiving a new card so the Medicare recipient won’t have any trouble when they go to a doctor’s office or hospital. Scammers then ask the beneficiary for their personal information, such as bank account number, social security numbers, etc. (Your old Medicare number will be good until December 31st, 2019, and you won’t be denied services because you don’t have your new card.)
You get a phone call saying that you will receive your new card as soon as you pay. Hang up! The new card is free.
Scammers pretending to be from CMS call you and say they don’t have the correct information on you and need it to mail you the new card. You’re told you will lose benefits if you don’t give the information.
Remember: MEDICARE OR SOCIAL SECURITY WILL NEVER CALL YOU ASKING FOR INFORMATION. THEY ALREADY HAVE YOUR INFORMATION. DO NOT GIVE OUT ANY PERSONAL INFORMATION OVER THE PHONE TO ANYONE UNLESS YOU HAVE INITIATED THE PHONE CALL.
For questions about Medicare-related subjects, call the local SHIBA agent, Kim Hulme at 208.847.0949.