The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that it will be sending new Medicare Cards to more than 57 million enrollees over the next two years. With the passage of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) of 2015 CMS is required to replace all cards that currently use a recipient’s Social Security Number with one that uses a new Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI). This change was mandated by Congress to help protect citizens from identity theft and fraud.
With these new security measures comes an opportunity for scammers to take advantage of unsuspecting Medicare recipients. If you are currently receiving or plan to enroll in Medicare over the next 18 months, be particularly cautious if someone comes to your door or calls you and claims to represent Medicare. The best practice is to hang up or send the door knocker packing. The receipt of this new card will be automatic. You don’t have to do anything. If you are ready to apply for Medicare, simply go to Medicare.gov and follow the application steps. Be skeptical of any other approach and keep the following tips in mind.
- No payment necessary. No additional out-of-pocket expense is required for enrollees to receive a new card.
- You will not need to verify your Social Security Number over the telephone.
- If a caller threatens that you will lose your Medicare coverage unless you verify your identity by providing bank account or credit card information, don’t believe it.
- Be sure to safeguard your new Medicare card. Even with the Social Security Number removed, a savvy hacker could still use it to commit fraud in your name.
For more information on this transition, check out What’s the Social Security Number Removal Initiative (SSNRI)? and New Medicare cards are on the way. – United States Federal Trade Commission, www.ftc.gov – not subject to copyright protection. 17 U.S.C. 403.