New Medicare Card Scam
Updated: May 22, 2019
Beginning in April of this year, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will begin mailing new Medicare cards to everyone with Medicare. CMS will be mailing out more than 55 million new cards, so the roll-out of new cards will take about a year and is being done in phases based on geography. Click the link to see the planned mailing by geographic location: Medicare Card Mailing Plan.
There's a good reason for these new Medicare cards: to protect your identity. Your current Medicare card number is usually your social security number followed by a letter. While this might not have caused many problems when the first Medicare card was issued in 1965, today access to your social security number gives "identity thieves the easiest path to the greatest damage: stealing your money and government benefits."
CMS explains, "The biggest reason we're taking the SSN off of Medicare cards is to fight medical identity theft for people with Medicare." The new Medicare cards will replace your social security number with a new Medicare identification number. The new number will be a combination of eleven random letters and numbers (see image above).
Beware of New Medicare Card Scams
While removing social security numbers from Medicare cards will ultimately lead to a reduction in Medicare-related identity theft, initially it is creating another opportunity for fraud. Identity thieves have been contacting seniors by phone and email under the pretense that they work for either Medicare or the Social Security office. These scammers ask seniors for personal information and claim it's necessary for updating the new Medicare cards.
Do not fall for this scam. Neither Medicare nor Social Security will be contacting you for private or personal information regarding the issuance of these new Medicare cards. The cards will automatically be mailed; there is no action necessary on your part.
If you receive any communication from Medicare or Social Security, it is almost exclusively done via the mail, not telephone or email.
For more information on the new Medicare cards, visit the CMS New Medicare Card Forum.