Medicare has begun mailing out new ID cards to all enrollees. At the same time, scammers are taking advantage of consumer confusion to commit Medicare ID card fraud, including identity theft, robbery, and bank fraud. Know what to look for to protect yourself and your identity.
The new Medicare ID cards were created to help prevent fraud, but that doesn’t stop identity thieves from trying. A recent poll found that 76 percent of Medicare enrollees don’t know much about the new cards, which can make them vulnerable to Medicare scams. Here’s what you need to know about the cards and how to easily spot a criminal.
Is Medicare mailing new cards to enrollees?
Yes, CMS will begin mailing new Medicare ID cards between now and April 2019. The current Medicare ID cards are being replaced with a new ID card and number. Instead of your Social Security number, the new card will have an 11-digit “Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI)” composed of both letters and numerals. The new cards are being rolled out to 59 million enrollees by April 2019.
One of the benefits of the new card is that you’ll no longer have to expose your Social Security number to your healthcare providers—or anyone who may be looking over your shoulder at the contents of your wallet.
Are the new Medicare ID Cards free?
Yes, the new Medicare ID cards are free. All Medicare enrollees will automatically receive a new card in the mail at no charge.
To make sure that your address is up to date, contact Social Security at ssa.gov/myaccount or (800) 772-1213.
What are some Medicare scams to look out for?
Scammers are out for two things: your money and/or your identification. Here are some common scams they’re using.
- A caller or emailer may claim to be from Medicare and say he or she need to update your information over the phone.
- A caller may say he or she is from Medicare and needs to collect a processing fee for your new card.
- A stranger may call claiming that you need to purchase a Medicare Part D plan or lose your coverage.
- An email or phone caller may claim that you’ve received a refund from your insurance company and all you need to do is give your Social Security Number or bank account information to them to make the transfer.
How do you know whether it’s Medicare ID Card fraud?
The main thing to remember is that Medicare will not contact you by phone or email. The only exceptions are if:
- You have called Medicare directly and have requested a call back.
- The Medicare health or drug plans you are already enrolled in contact you.
- The insurance agent who helped you join a Medicare plan contacts
How to Protect Your Medicare Identity
To prevent Medicare ID card fraud from happening to you, only give out your Medicare or Social Security identification to your healthcare providers, current insurance companies, or organizations that work with Medicare, such as your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP).
If you aren’t sure whether an email or phone call is legitimate, make sure you do not give out any personal information the sender or caller could use to access your banking or healthcare accounts.
If you receive a suspicious call asking for your Medicare identification, call Medicare at 1-800 MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).
If you’d like more information about Medicare ID card fraud, you can visit the Medicare fraud website.
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