New Medicare cards are coming – Beware of scams

Medicare is mailing new Medicare cards to all people with Medicare starting in April 2018.

Here are 10 things to know about your new Medicare card:

1. Your new card will automatically come to you. You don’t need to do anything as long as your address is up to date. If you need to update your address, visit your mySocialSecurity account.

2. Your new card will have a new Medicare number that’s unique to you, instead of your Social Security number. This will help to protect your identity.

3. Your Medicare coverage and benefits will stay the same.

4. Mailing takes time. Your card may arrive at a different time than your friend’s or neighbor’s.

5. Your new card is paper, which is easier for many providers to use and copy.

6. Once you get your new Medicare card, destroy your old Medicare card and start using your new card right away.

7. If you’re in a Medicare Advantage Plan (like an HMO or PPO), your Medicare Advantage Plan ID card is your main card for Medicare – you should still keep and use it whenever you need care. However, you also may be asked to show your new Medicare card, so you should carry this card too.

8. Doctors, other health care providers and facilities know it’s coming and will ask for your new Medicare card when you need care, so carry it with you.

9. Give your new Medicare number only to doctors, pharmacists, other health care providers, your insurers, or people you trust to work with Medicare on your behalf.

10. If you forget your new card, you, your doctor or other health care provider may be able to look up your Medicare number online.

Watch out for scams

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

Medicare, or someone representing Medicare, will call and ask for personal information ONLY in these situations:

1. A Medicare health or drug plan can call you if you’re already a member of the plan. The agent who helped you join can also call you.

2. A customer service representative from 1-800-MEDICARE can call you if you’ve called and left a message or a representative said that someone would call you back.

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, for money, or threatens to cancel your health benefits if you don’t share your personal information, hang up and call Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).

Help fight Medicare fraud

Medicare fraud wastes a lot of money each year and results in higher health care costs and taxes for everyone. There are con artists who may try to get your

Medicare number or personal information so they can steal your identity and commit Medicare fraud.

Guard your Medicare card like it’s a credit card. Give your Medicare number only to people you know should have it. Medicare, or someone representing Medicare, will never contact you for your Medicare number or other personal information unless you’ve given them permission in advance.

If someone calls you and asks for your Medicare number or other personal information, hang up and call Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).

If you suspect identity theft, or feel like you gave your personal information to someone you shouldn’t have, contact the Federal Trade Commission.
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