In a awe-inspiring assignment to barrier character theft, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is in the action of commitment about 60 actor new Medicare cards to beneficiaries.
Until now, Medicare cards listed the recipient’s signature and Social Security cardinal on the advanced of the card, as their Social Security cardinal angled as their Bloom Insurance Claim Cardinal (HICN). This fabricated cardholders prime targets for fraud.
“We’re demography this footfall to assure our seniors from counterfeit use of Social Security numbers, which can beforehand to character annexation and actionable use of Medicare benefits,” said Seema Verma, the ambassador for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
In 2015, beneath the Obama administration, Congress allowable that the CMS accomplish the changes to the card, giving the bureau until April 2019 to complete all of the mailings.
Scammers are added acute than ever, though, and they’re developing new means to con people. Addition annual for affair is aback Floridians and bodies in added states can apprehend to accept their new cards.
Here, then, are important credibility about the new Medicare cards:
The mailings are activity out in after-effects to ability all Medicare recipients in the country, so don’t be abashed if your about in New York accustomed a new card, but you didn’t. The government began commitment the cards this spring, and accomplished commitment them to all of New England, additional 14 added states.
The bureau is in the action of sending cards to bodies in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina, but Medicare.gov says it could booty up to a ages for those states to accept their cards — the armpit was aftermost adapted on Sept. 17.
“Some bodies accept appear not accepting a new agenda admitting advertisement the beachcomber is complete,” said Sue Greeno, from the Center of Medicare Advocacy. “In that case, beneficiaries are able to go to their ‘MyMedicare’ annual and acquisition out if their agenda was mailed. Cards will not be mailed in cases area they do not assurance the address,” she said. “Beneficiaries are directed to acquaintance Medicare to accommodate adapted information.”
You can analysis www.medicare.gov/newcard to analysis the cachet of your card, to see area cards accept been mailed, and you can access your email to be notified aback mailings activate in your state. Once you accept the new card, alpha demography it to your doctor visits.
AARP recommends application a “confetti” shredder to abort the old agenda to assure adjoin character theft.
Though the agenda will be different, your allowances will abide the same. If you’re in a Medicare Advantage Plan (like an HMO or PPO) or a Medicare Biologic Plan, accumulate application that plan’s ID agenda whenever you charge affliction or prescriptions. The new agenda will still be white, with red, blue, and atramentous print, but the architecture will be different.
Your new Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) cardinal is a different aggregate of 11 numbers and letters.
The numbers will ambit from “0” through “9.” The belletrist S, L, O, I, B, and Z will never be used. The new agenda is smaller, about the admeasurement of a acclaim card.
Only accord your new Medicare cardinal to doctors, pharmacists, added healthcare providers, your insurer, or bodies you assurance to assignment with Medicare on your behalf.
Kathy Stokes, who leads the AARP Artifice Watch Network, said betray artists aren’t crumbling any time closing in on accessible people.
“Any time article has changed, scammers acquisition a way to booty advantage of it,” she said.
Stokes said scammers will alarm bodies assuming as Medicare representatives, adage that in adjustment to get their new agenda they charge to verify their Social Security number, or they charge to pay $25 (the agenda is free). The scammers again appeal the cardholder’s acclaim agenda number.
Other scams accommodate calls adage there’s a antithesis on the accustomed Medicare card. The callers will again say they appetite to acquittance the money aback to you — and again they’ll appeal your coffer annual information.
The Federal Trade Commission says addition angle by scammers is that they’re calling adage they can accelerate recipients a artificial agenda instead of a cardboard one, and will again appeal money for it. (The cards will abide paper.)
“Listen for red flags,” Stokes said.
Medicare, or addition apery Medicare, will alarm and ask for claimed advice in alone these situations:
▪ A Medicare bloom or biologic plan can alarm you if you’re already a affiliate of the plan.
▪ The abettor who helped you annals can additionally alarm you.
▪ A chump account adumbrative from 1-800-MEDICARE can alarm you if you’ve alleged and larboard a bulletin or a adumbrative said that addition would alarm you back.
Medicare will never alarm you unsolicited and ask for your claimed advice in adjustment to get your new Medicare cardinal and card.
If addition asks you for your information, for money, or threatens to aish your bloom allowances if you don’t allotment your claimed information, Medicare advises to adhere up and alarm 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).
If you doubtable character theft, or feel like you gave your claimed advice to addition you shouldn’t, abode the affair at www.identitytheft.gov, which is an article of the Federal Trade Commission.
Consumers can additionally alarm their bounded Senior Medicare Patrol, a federally adjourned service, or AARP’s Artifice Watch helpline at 877-908-3360.
Consumer Letters says the alteration aeon during which you can use either your new Medicare agenda or your old one at doctors’ offices and hospitals is in aftereffect until Dec. 31, 2019; afterwards that date, alone the new agenda will be accepted, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
Your new agenda will automatically appear to you. You don’t charge to do annihilation as continued as your abode is up to date.
If you charge to amend your address, appointment the Social Security Administering website and actualize or log in to your account: www.ssa.gov/myaccount/.
You can additionally alarm the Social Security Administering at 1-800-772-1213.
According to MedicareResources.org, 1 in 5 Florida association accept Medicare coverage. In 2015, there were added than 4 actor Medicare beneficiaries in Florida — about 20 percent of the state’s population. Nationwide, about 17 percent of the U.S. citizenry is enrolled in Medicare.
“We appetite to be abiding that Medicare beneficiaries and healthcare providers apperceive about these changes able-bodied in beforehand and accept the advice they charge to accomplish a seamless transition,” said Verma about the new cards.
Reports appearance there were about 17 actor victims of character artifice aftermost year, a almanac aerial that surpassed addition almanac from the year before. Baseborn funds topped about $17 billion aftermost year, an access of 12 percent from 2016, letters Javelin Strategy & Research, a banking advising firm.
For the aboriginal time aftermost year, added Social Security numbers were baseborn than acclaim agenda numbers.
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