Here is valuable information you need to know about your new Medicare card, and ways to avoid related scams.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) is currently mailing new Medicare ID cards through April 2019, as part of an effort from CMS to help protect the beneficiary’s identity and to prevent fraud. The new card is free and will have a unique, 11-character combination of letters and numbers randomly assigned to you, that has no connection to your other personal data. It will still be red, white, and blue, but will not include your Social Security number or other information that could compromise your identity.

The mailing process won’t cost you anything. It is expected to take up to a year and will be done at various times throughout the country. Don’t be surprised if your card arrives at a different time than your spouse, friend, or neighbor. In Arizona, the new cards are expected to begin being mailed after June 2018.

When the new card arrives, shred your old card and begin using your new card immediately. It’s important that you provide your hospital, doctor, pharmacist, and/or other health care provider with the new card when you need medications, hospital, medical, or any other health services. If you do not have your new card with you when it is needed, the provider may be able to look up your Medicare number online. It’s important to note that the card is proof that you have Medicare coverage.

As far as your current Medicare coverage, it should not be affected, and benefits will remain unchanged. Your current insurance ID cards should also not change or be reissued because of this transition; keep both your new Medicare card and your insurance ID card.

If your address is up to date, then the you don’t need to do anything before the cards are mailed; it will automatically be sent to you. If you want to ensure that your address is correct, or if you need to make a change, you can contact the Social Security Administration Office (which will be preparing and mailing the cards) at ssa.gov/myaccount or you may call 800-772-1213.

Scammers:

There are scammers with new tactics who have already targeted people and tried to trick them into sharing their personal information. CMS will not call a beneficiary for private or personal information in order for you to get your new Medicare number and/or card.

 

Use caution when giving your new Medicare number to others; be sure that you trust them to work with Medicare on your behalf, such as doctors or other health providers, pharmacists, insurers. If someone asks you for your personal information or for money, or if they threaten to cancel your health benefits if you don’t share that personal information, hang up immediately. Also remember to guard your Medicare card and number, and don’t give personal information in exchange for your Medicare card.

 

If you need additional information, you may choose to speak with a licensed and certified professional agent at no cost to you.

 

Jody Cohen is an independent licensed Medicare Plans Specialist and Educator who specializes in helping Arizona seniors understand the healthcare options available to them in the Medicare platform. She offers a complimentary, thorough needs analysis and reviews the most cost efficient plan to ensure that medical needs are met with a preferred provider network, and prescription costs are kept to a minimum. Jody also helps her clients capture all the social programs available to them. She can be contacted jodycohen@goibc.net or 602-326-4264.