In one of our recent blog posts, we wrote about the Equifax data breach that affected millions of seniors and as you would imagine, our aging population is extremely concerned about their security.
Since the data breach occurred, the fear and uncertainly running throughout the aging community is unprecedented. Thankfully the U.S. government made a wise decision last year when they decided to help protect the identity of our elder population by eliminating social security numbers from the Medicare cards.
With the challenges we are facing with the Equifax data breach, the Medicare card replacement news could not have come at a better time helping our senior citizens sleep a little easier. In a recent US News AP article, Medicare Chief Seema Verma said criminals are constantly targeting those 65 plus for medical identity theft and Medicare is committed to preventing fraud.
Starting in April 2018, the government will begin a massive undertaking of mailing out 58 million Medicare cards to beneficiaries in hopes of completing the Congressional project deadline by April 2019.
To make it easier for seniors, CMS created a website to assist with the transition. Additionally, CMS will disseminate a steady flow of advertising to educate our elder population of the changes throughout the process. The goal is to inform senior citizens and prepare them for what is coming. Most importantly, with so many criminals looking to take advantage of seniors, Medicare card holders need to keep a close eye on their old card and destroy it when the new card arrives.
According to Medicare.gov, there are several things you should know about the new Medicare card:
- You don't need to take any action to receive your card.
- The new card won't change your Medicare coverage or benefits.
- Medicare will never ask you to give personal or private information to get your Medicare number or card.
- There is no charge for the new card.
Remember, fraud artists are always looking for opportunities for criminal actions, so be on the alert! These fraudsters will try to get your current Medicare number and other information by contacting you over the phone or in person. Typically, the criminals will claim they are with Medicare and try several creative tactics to persuade you to share your Medicare number similar to:
- Asking for your Medicare number so they can send you a new card.
- Informing you there is a charge for the new card and they need verification of personal information.
- Threatening to cancel health benefits if you don't divulge your personal information and Medicare number.
If you are the recipient of one of these calls or conversations, hangup and call 1-800-MEDICARE