Last week, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a notice that beneficiaries in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont will begin receiving new Medicare cards. The agency also announced the completion of the mailing to beneficiaries who live in Alaska, American Samoa, California, Guam, Hawaii, Northern Mariana Islands and Oregon. These were the “Wave Two” states and territories.
As a reminder, the new Medicare card will have a new and unique Medicare Beneficiary Identifier number instead of the beneficiary’s Social Security Number (SSN). The new cards are meant to be safer, protecting beneficiaries from fraud, identity theft and SSN misuse. Please note that beneficiaries don’t need to do anything to receive the new card and there is no charge for it. Beneficiaries should destroy their old Medicare card immediately after receiving the new one.
Unsurprisingly, there have been reports of scams related to the new Medicare cards. Scammers may try to contact beneficiaries to get personal information such as their Social Security Number; threaten to cancel a beneficiary’s Medicare coverage; or try to charge beneficiaries for a new card. Beneficiaries should know that Medicare will never make an unsolicited call to ask for personal information.
For more information:
- CMS’ video about how to safely destroy an old Medicare Card: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rf9q0dVinF8
- Additional educational resources about the new Medicare Card: https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/New-Medicare-Card/Outreach-and-Education/Outreach-and-education.html
- Learn how to fight Medicare fraud and find information about your state’s Senior Medicare Patrol here: https://www.smpresource.org/
- Report scams to the Senate Aging Committee’s toll-free hotline at 1-855-303-9470