Watch for your new Medicare card without your SS number
The federal government has begun a year-long process of sending new Medicare cards to 59 million Medicare recipients. Your new card will have a randomly generated 11-character Medicare number, instead of using your Social Security number.
Although your card will be new, your Medicare coverage and benefits will stay the same.
In April, Medicare began removing Social Security numbers from the new Medicare cards, and sending the new cards to beneficiaries. This change is to help protect your identity and reduce medical and financial fraud.
This will happen automatically. You don’t need to do anything or pay anyone to get your new card. Just make sure Medicare has your correct mailing address.
Medicare will mail your card, at no cost, to the address you have on file with the Social Security Administration. If you need to update your official address, visit your online Social Security account at SSA.gov/myaccount, or call 800-772-1213.
When you get your new card, don’t throw your old one in the trash until you have shredded it or cut it up to make sure your Social Security number is destroyed. That is a very important step to prevent anyone from stealing your identity.
If you know someone who lives in a different state who gets their card before you receive yours, don’t fret. The new cards will be mailed in waves, to various parts of the county over a 12-month period that started in April 2018, and ends in April 2019.
Medicare beneficiaries in Alaska, California, Delaware, and the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia will be the first to receive the mailings between April and June.
The last wave of states will be Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, and Tennessee, along with Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
As the Medicare cards start being mailed, be on the lookout for Medicare scams. Here are some tips:
• Don’t pay for your new card. It’s free. If anyone calls and says you must pay for it, that is a scam.
• Don’t give personal information to get your card. Never give a caller your Social Security number. If the caller requests it, that is a scam. Just hang up. Medicare will never ask you to give them your personal information to get your new card.
• Guard your card. When you get your new card, safeguard it as you would any health insurance or credit card.
We should commend the federal government for removing our Social Security numbers from our Medicare Cards. Protecting us all from identity theft and reducing Medicare fraud is well worth the time, effort and expense entailed in making this change.
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