The federal government is currently replacing every Medicare card in the United States with a new, more secure card.
This is part of an effort to help prevent senior citizens from falling victim to identity theft.
The new red, white, and blue Medicare cards will no longer include your Social Security number. Instead, they will display a unique, 11-digit Medicare ID number.
However, scammers are using the card replacement process as an opportunity to rip off Medicare enrollees. Identity thieves positing as government employees are calling senior citizens asking for money, bank account numbers, or other personal information. In one common scam, the caller claims that there is a $5 to $50 fee for a “temporary Medicare card.”
There are no temporary cards and there are no fees. Your new Medicare card is completely free.
To avoid being victimized, please read over the following details about your new Medicare card:
- Your new card is completely free. If somebody calls you asking for payment or offering to pay you some sort of balance refund, that is a scam.
- Your new card will be automatically mailed to you. You do not have to provide any personal information to receive your card. Some identity thieves have called senior citizens asking for Social Security numbers to “verify information.” That is a scam.
- You may not receive your card right away. Some Pennsylvania residents have already received their cards, but many have not. The card replacement process is expected to last until April 2019. Keep in mind that your friends and neighbors could receive their cards before you receive yours.
- Destroy your old Medicare card. When your new card arrives, dispose of your old card the way you would an old credit card or banking statement.
- Safeguard your new card. Although the new card will not include your Social Security number, identity thieves could still use it to steal from you or from Medicare. 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.
- Your benefits will remain exactly the same. Only your card is changing.
- Medicare will never call you uninvited seeking personal information. There are very few circumstances when Medicare would need to call you at all. No one from Medicare will ever call asking for personal or private information to get your new Medicare number or card. If somebody does call you asking for information, for money, or threatening to cancel your health benefits, hang up and call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).
If you found this article helpful, please share it with your family and friends to help them from becoming victims to Medicare-related identity theft.
For 60 years, McMillen Urick Tocci Jones has been representing residents of Beaver and Allegheny counties in all matters of law. Contact us at 724.375.6683.