To prevent fraud and fight identity theft, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has been distributing new Medicare cards that don’t have the beneficiaries’ Social Security numbers on them. Senior Planet asked for an update on the new cards; here’s the latest from Ray Hurd, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Regional Administrator for New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
New Medicare cards are headed to beneficiaries – What you should know
This past April, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services began mailing beneficiaries new Medicare cards. The new cards won’t have the person’s Social Security number like the old cards had. Instead, a unique, randomly assigned Medicare number will be printed on the card, protecting the identities of beneficiaries, reducing fraud and offering better safeguards of health and financial information. People in New York should receive new Medicare cards in the mail by the end of August.
CMS is committed to putting patients first and improving the consumer healthcare experience and removing social security numbers from Medicare cards is one way of doing just that. By protecting Medicare patients from fraud, taxpayer dollars are protected, making it harder for criminals to use Social Security numbers for false Medicare billing for care services and benefits that were never performed. Work on this important initiative is due to the passage of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA).
Across the country, people new to Medicare started receiving their new Medicare card in April along with those in the first wave of mailings. There are over 58 million people enrolled in Medicare nationwide. In New York, over 3 million people can expect to receive new Medicare cards. As soon as beneficiaries get the new Medicare card in the mail, they should safely and securely destroy their old Medicare card and keep their new Medicare number confidential.
All Medicare program benefits and services will remain the same for eligible Medicare enrollees during the transition to the new Medicare card. Medicare beneficiaries and their caregivers can visit medicare.gov/newcard to find out when new Medicare cards will be mailed to their area. They can also sign up for email notifications about the new card mailing and check the status in their state.
Individuals with questions can call 1-800-MEDICARE for help or additional information. Medicare will mail the new card to the verified address the beneficiary has on file with the Social Security Administration (SSA) so having a current and correct address of record is important. To update an official mailing address, simply visit https://www.ssa.gov/myaccount or call 1-800-772-1213.
As the new Medicare cards are being mailed, beneficiaries should look out for scams and follow these tips:
- Medicare will never contact you for your Medicare number or other personal information so you can obtain your new Medicare card.
- Don’t pay for your new Medicare card. It’s free. If anyone calls or approaches you and says you need to pay for it, that’s a scam.
- Guard your card. When you get your new card, safeguard it like you would health insurance or credit cards.
- Only give your new Medicare number to doctors, pharmacists, other health care providers, your insurers, or people you trust to work with Medicare on your behalf.
For a quick review of phone scams about the new cards, check out this article.
Once Medicare starts mailing cards to your state, it can take up to a month to receive the card. If the government has finished mailing the cards to your state, and you did not receive a card, contact Medicare right away at 1-800-MEDICARE (633-4227) or 1-877-486-2048 for TTY users.