New Medicare Cards
Don't be surprised next April when you see a new Medicare card show up in your mailbox that looks strikingly different from the one you may have in your wallet currently.
Officials from the Centers for Medicare Services stated on May 30, 2017 that they were on track for the 2019 deadline to remove social security numbers from Medicare cards.
This makes sense when you think about it. With all of the identity theft that occurs worldwide, would you carry your social security card in your wallet? For decades the standard Medicare number has been the beneficiary’s social security number followed by a letter, generally A. For example, XXX-XX-XXXX-A. If a beneficiary were to ever have their Medicare card lost or stolen, the name and social security number of that individual is readily available on the front of the card. A quick Google search of that individual in a voter database could include their date of birth and home address, much of the information needed for nefarious purposes, like opening a false credit card. Seems dangerous, right?
The CMS has set out to fix this. In the meantime, what can you do to protect yourself from identity theft? Stay vigilant. It may be worth signing up for a credit monitoring service that alerts you if there is a change to your credit score or when new credit lines are opened or modified. You can regularly check your credit score and history with free online services such as CreditKarma. Unless you frequently visit new medical providers or change providers, it may not be worth regularly having your Medicare card on your person. After all, if you can remember your social security number, you are likely to remember your Medicare number as well.
Keep in mind, this does not apply to the insurance card a private carrier may have given you if you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage or Medicare Supplement plan. Just the red, white, and blue Medicare card you received when you were first eligible for Medicare benefits.
When you receive your new card in the mail from the CMS, you will be instructed to destroy your current Medicare card and your new card should be available for use immediately.
If you have any questions about when you might receive your new Medicare card or what you can do to protect yourself, feel free to contact us at 866-868-9294 or contact the Centers for Medicare Services at www.cms.gov.