What You Need To Understand About the New Medicare Card
As citizens across the country receive new and safer Medicare cards via mail, lawyers warn against fraudulent people who try to get people to pay money or disclose personal information.
The government is gradually replacing Medicare cards for the 60 million people who are part of the federal health policy. Previously, the cards used the beneficiary’s social security number as a Medicare number, which represented a risk of identity theft. The congress commissioned a change in 2015.
“It took a lot of time, but it is in the works,” said Sue Greeno of the non profit center for Medicare advocacy.
The new cards use an 11-digit Medicare identifier that contains letters and numbers, such as the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the agency that operates Medicare policy.
The card comes with a randomly assigned Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) consisting of 11 numbers and letters; and no social security number as in the current card.
Some differences with the new cards are:
- Uppercase letters and numbers
- The letters B, I, L, O, S & Z are not used to avoid confusing numbers with letters
- Positions 2, 5, 8 and 9 are always letters.
- There is no embedded logic
- Each beneficiary is assigned a unique identifier.
All of the approximately 60 million Medicare beneficiaries will finally receive the card by mail. The emails started in April 2018 and will last one year. What should you or the Medicare beneficiary know?You do not have to do anything to get the card. It will be sent to you automatically.Make sure Medicare has your current address so your card is delivered on time.The card can be in an envelope that looks like spam.Once you receive the card, destroy your old card and use your new card immediately.Do not worry if your friends have the new card and you do not. It takes some time to send all the cards.The new card is paper. You may want to laminate it.Bring the new card with you at your next health visit.If you forget to bring your new card, your doctor must be able to access your Medicare identification online.If you have a Medicare Advantage policy, you must maintain and use the map of that plan. However, keep both cards ready when you see your doctor.Beware of fraud (as recommended by the American Association of Retired Persons)
Scams related to the new card are already appearing. Some Medicare beneficiaries report receiving calls from scammers telling them to pay for the new card, and then asking for their current account and Medicare card numbers. Do not give a number! “Anyone who says you should pay for card is a fraud,” says Paul Stephens, director of policy and advocacy at the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse in San Diego. “In the case of CMS, they will never ask you to reveal your Medicare card number because they already know it.” Identity theft is increasing among those over the age of 65. Consider a Blue Cross Blue Shield advantage plan at https://www.medicareadvantage2019.org/bcbs-medicare-advantage-plans-for-2019