If you’re a Medicare beneficiary, keep an eye on your mailbox because a new Medicare card is on its way!
Here’s a quick rundown of everything you need to know about your new card:
When Can I Expect My New Card?
The government is mailing each Medicare recipient their new card, free of charge, beginning in April 2018. The rollout is expected to take 12 months, so the final cards should be delivered by April 2019.
The cards are being sent out in waves, meaning that they’ll be getting to different parts of the country at different times. So there’s no need to worry if your friends or family members in a different state receive their cards before you get yours. For reference, here’s a look at the rollout schedule.
Your new card will be sent to the address you have on file with the Social Security Administration. If you wish to check or update your address, you may contact Social Security at ssa.gov/myaccount or by calling 1-800-772-1213.
What’s Different About the New Card?
The reason for the change is all about security. Medicare is removing users’ Social Security numbers (SSN) from all Medicare cards. Instead, the new cards will display a Medicare Number. Every beneficiary will be give their own unique number. Moving forward, this new number will be used for coverage and billing purposes.
This switch should help keep your information more secure and protect your identity. With that said, though, you should still treat your new Medicare Number like your SSN. Treat this new Medicare number like classified information, and only give it out on a need-to-know basis. Safeguard your new Medicare card just like you would any other health insurance or banking card or information.
Will There Be a Transition Period?
Because mailing every Medicare recipient a new card will take some time, there is a grace period built in. Beneficiaries should be able to use their current card through the end of 2019. Providers should be able to look up your new number, or use your information currently on file, during this transition period.
Are My Benefits Going to Change?
This new card will not change your coverage or benefits in any way.
What Should I Do With My Old Card?
When you receive your new card, you’ll want to be sure to destroy your old card in order to help prevent confusion and keep your personal information secure. Be sure to shred your old card, or at least, cut it up with scissors rather than just tossing it in the trash (where scammers can find it).
One thing to note! If you have a separate card for a Medicare Advantage plan or prescription drug coverage, be sure to hold on to it! You’ll still need this card’s information to receive treatment. These plans are issued through separate, private insurance companies, which have their own way of identifying coverage recipients.
Is There a Risk for Scams?
Older Americans are often targeted by con artists and scammers, so it’s important to be on alert while this Medicare card changeover is happening. There are already stories circulating about scammers using these new cards as an excuse to steal personal information from Medicare beneficiaries.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) offers a few pointers on how to protect yourself in this helpful post. First and foremost, remember that you’ll be getting your new card at no cost, so “if anyone calls and says you need to pay for it, that’s a scam.”
Also, the FTC urges consumers to keep in mind that “Medicare will never ask you to give personal information to get your new number and card.” So, “if someone calls claiming to be from Medicare, asking for your Social Security number or bank information, that’s a scam.”
If you should get a call like one of the above, don’t hesitate to hang up, and report the incident to consumer protection authorities.
Have any more questions or concerns about the new Medicare cards? Remember, with the Enrollment Specialists, you’re able to say “I Got A Guy!” for all things health and life insurance.
Don’t hesitate to reach out to our owner and principal consultant Matt Peebles with any further questions! Whether you want to talk about Medicare cards, look into life insurance, or see if there’s a Medicare supplement plan that’s right for you, Matt is here and ready to help you. Drop the Enrollment Specialists a line today to get the conversations started!