In a blog post back in February, we told you that CMS will be sending out replacement cards to enhance your security. Instead of your Social Security number also serving as your Medicare ID number, you will now have a randomly generated ID number. This will protect your social security number from falling into the hands of unscrupulous people.
Medicare announced this week that they’ve started mailing cards to beneficiaries in Illinois. The process should take about a month, so don’t worry if your relatives or friends get their cards before you do. Here’s what you need to know about your new card:
Medicare will send the card to your address on file at the Social Security Administration.
If you recently moved residences, make sure you’ve updated your address with Social Security. If you didn’t, Medicare will send the card to your old address. To check which address your card will be mailed to, you can check at your online Social Security account, or at your local Social Security office.
Destroy your old card promptly.
As soon as your new card comes in the mail, destroy your old card by shredding it or cutting it up. Make sure the number on your old card is completely obliterated before putting it in the trash. You will no longer need this card for any appointments, so it’s best to get rid of it safely and quickly.
Your coverage will not change in any way.
Having a new Medicare card will not change any of your benefits or covered services. The transition to your new ID number should be seamless and easy. Your doctors and other healthcare providers have nearly two years to use either your old Social Security-based Medicare number or the new unique ID when they file your claims. Medicare also set up a secure look-up tool for providers and suppliers to find your new number if they need it.
Treat your new card as you would any other sensitive document.
While scammers and criminals can no longer get your Social Security from your Medicare card, they can still use your card to commit fraud. Keep your card securely in your wallet and treat it as a credit card or other personal document. Don’t give out the number to people who call you, even if they claim to be from your doctor’s office. Only give out your number if you’re 100% sure you know who you’re talking to.
Beware of fraud attempts.
As we warned in our last post about Medicare cards, scammers are trying to hack this new level of protection. They try to trick seniors into giving them their Social Security numbers, new Medicare ID numbers, or credit card numbers to “pay” for the new cards. If someone calls you, purportedly from Medicare, remember this:
- Medicare will NOT call you about your new card. Your card will be mailed to you automatically; no confirmation necessary.
- The card has NO charge attached to it.
- Medicare will only call you if you called 1-800-MEDICARE and left a message, or spoke to an agent who said someone would return your call.
If you have any questions about your new card, go to mymedicare.gov/newcard, or ask them in the comments here and we’ll do our best to answer.