If you are currently receiving Medicare benefits you have probably already received your new “Medicare & You 2018” Handbook in the mail. One of the biggest changes in Medicare for 2018, is noted right inside the front cover. Medicare will be sending out new Medicare cards to over 60 million people throughout the United States starting in April 2018.
Why are they sending new cards?
On the current cards, the social security number of the Medicare recipient is the Medicare claim number. There have been many concerns that putting sensitive information on the card could lead to fraud and identity theft. If someone was able to get a hold of your card, they could illegally use the benefits to receive medical attention or try and use your Social Security number to open fraudulent accounts.
The new Medicare card will have a new claim number.
Instead of your Social Security number, it will be a random string of capital letters and numbers. It will be red, white and blue just like the old card and will have your name, new number and the date in which your Medicare coverage began. The new card will not change your coverage or your benefits. You will also be receiving additional information from Medicare when your new card is mailed.
The plan is for all cards to be replaced by April 2019.
However, with over 60 million cards being replaced it may take a little longer. The mail order is randomly generated by geographic location, so don’t worry if your friends get their Medicare cards before you do. CMS has issued a 21-month transition period. This means that from April 2018 to January 2020, you can use either your old Medicare card or your new Medicare card. However, after January 1, 2020, you must use your new card for all your Medicare needs.
Please be aware that no one from Medicare will ever contact you asking for personal information unless permission has been granted prior to the phone call. So, if someone calls you claiming to be from Medicare services and tells you they need your Medicare card number, or that you won’t receive your Medicare benefits unless you give it to them, or there is a charge for your new Medicare card, hang up immediately. This is a scam.
It is also very important that Medicare has your current mailing address because all the new cards will be sent to the address of record. If your address needs to be corrected contact Social Security at ssa.gov/my account or 1-800-772-1213. TTY users can call 1-800-325-0778.
Original Article by Mike Zimmer