New Medicare cards mailed to enrollees

Living and Aging Well: Column by Jeff Hinson
Posted 10/2/18

In September, the Center for Medicare Services started mailing new Medicare cards to all people with Medicare in Colorado, to help protect you from identity fraud. The new Medicare cards no longer …

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New Medicare cards mailed to enrollees

Posted

In September, the Center for Medicare Services started mailing new Medicare cards to all people with Medicare in Colorado, to help protect you from identity fraud.

The new Medicare cards no longer contain your Social Security number, but rather a unique, randomly assigned Medicare number that’s unique to you. The new card will help protect your identity and keep your personal information more secure. As soon as you receive your new Medicare card, you should safely and securely destroy your old Medicare card and keep your new Medicare number confidential.

You can start using your new card as soon as you receive it. Your Medicare coverage and benefits won’t change at all.

Medicare will automatically mail your new card — at no cost — to the address you have on file with Social Security. So make sure your mailing address is up to date.

If your address needs to be corrected, contact Social Security at ssa.gov/myaccount or 1-800-772-1213. TTY users can call 1-800-325-0778.

If Social Security has your current mailing address, there’s nothing else you need to do to receive your new card.

Mailing everyone a new card will take time. Your card might arrive at a different time than your friend’s or neighbor’s.

Once you get your new Medicare card, take these three steps to make it harder for someone to steal your information and identity:

1. Destroy your old Medicare card right away (shred it).

2. Doctors and other health-care providers know that Medicare is replacing the old cards. They are ready to accept your new card when you need care.

3. Beware of anyone who contacts you and asks for your new Medicare number, personal information, or to pay a fee for your new card. There are no charges whatsoever for the new cards.

Guard your card. Treat your new Medicare number like you treat your Social Security or credit card numbers. Only give your new Medicare number to doctors, pharmacists, insurers, or other people you trust to work with Medicare on your behalf.

Medicare will never call you uninvited and ask you to give personal or private information to get your new Medicare card.

Scam artists may try to get personal information (like your current Medicare number) by contacting you about your new card. If someone asks you for your information, or for money, or threatens to cancel your health benefits if you don’t share your personal information, hang up and call us at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).

Your new Medicare card will be paper. Paper cards are easier for many providers to use and copy, and they save taxpayers a lot of money. Plus, you can print your own replacement card if you need one.

Carry your new card and show it to your health-care providers. They know the new cards are coming. Doctors, other providers, and health care facilities will ask for your new Medicare card when you need care.

If you forget your new card, you, your doctor, or other health-care provider may be able to look up your new Medicare number securely online once it has been issued.

If you’re in a Medicare Advantage or Other Medicare Health Plan (like an HMO, PPO or Cost plan-Colorado only) or a Medicare Drug Plan, continue to use your Medicare Health or Drug Plan ID card when you get health care or fill a prescription. However, you also may be asked to show your new Medicare card, so you should carry this card with you, too.

Jeff Hinson is Medicare’s Regional Administrator for Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah & Wyoming. You can always get answers to your Medicare questions by calling 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). TTY users can call 1-877-486-2048. This column is hosted by the Seniors’ Council of Douglas County. Please join us for our next meeting on Thursday, Nov. 1 at The Rock Church, 4881 Cherokee Drive, Castle Rock, CO 80109. Our presentation on Medicare 2019 Updates and community conversation will begin at 10:15 a.m. For more information, go online to MyDougCoSeniorLife.com, email DCSeniorLife@douglas.co.us or call 303-663-7681.

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