New Medicare Cards: What You Need To Know
New Medicare cards are in the mail. The objective is to prevent fraud and stop identity theft. Congress has changed the design of the card so that it is difficult for thieves to steal your ID and rip you off. The new Medicare cards don’t show your Social Security number, gender, and signature.
New Medicare Cards: Why Make This Change?
The new cards began their mail out in April and are ongoing. 58 million Americans will be receiving these new medicare cards. To decrease fraud, each card features a computer-generated Medicare beneficiary number assigned just to you. The number is made up of 11 numbers and letters and will be used for billing, verification and eligibility, and to check a claim status.
These changes makes it more difficult for criminals to steal your identity. According to the Justice Department, the number of identity-theft cases for people 65 and older reached 2.6 million in 2014.
New Medicare Cards: New Features
Several new features are incorporated into the new medicare card. First, it has a unique, randomly-assigned number that replaces your current Social Security-based number. This new Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) does not change the coverage or benefits that you are currently receiving. The new MBI will be used for billing and for checking eligibility and claim status.
The transition from old to new card will take 21 months. In this transition period, doctors, healthcare providers, and suppliers can use either the old Social Security number-based Medicare number or the new Medicare MBI number. This transition may take until April 2019 for everyone to get their new cards.
Seniors should be aware of these warnings issued by the Centers For Medicare services (CMS):
Medicare never asks older adults to give personal or private information to get their new Medicare number and card. There is absolutely no fee to get the new card. Beware of scammers that ask you for your personal information.
You can see the design of the new Medicare card in the 2018 Medicare & You Handbook. The handbooks are now mailing out and will be in the hands of all Medicare beneficiaries by this September.