Privacy-Protected Medicare Cards Hitting Mailboxes Soon

To help protect its members from fraud and identity theft, the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will begin mailing new Medicare cards in April 2018. The new cards will no longer contain Social Security Numbers (SSN) and instead feature a unique “Medicare Number.”

To see when your new Medicare card will be mailed to you, see the Table below. Your spine specialist and/or back pain doctor may ask to see your new card when you check in for an appointment.
John Smith Watermark CardsNew Medicare card designed to help protect fraud and identity theft. Image Credit: Medicare.govBelow are 6 things you should know about this change.

  1. The new Medicare cards will not change your benefits.
    A new card does not mean new benefits. Your existing Medicare benefits will be unaffected by the change to your Medicare card.
  1. The new Medicare cards will be mailed between April 2018 and April 2019.
    While the cards will begin mailing in April 2018, it may take a bit longer to receive your card. CMS is mailing the cards in phases by geographic location, so people in certain states will receive their cards sooner than others. If you don’t receive your card immediately, don’t worry: All people with Medicare will receive their new card by April 2019.
    Medicare TableNew Medicare Card Mailing Strategy. Table credit, CMS.gov at https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/New-Medicare-Card/NMC-Mailing-Strategy.pdf.
  1. The change to the new Medicare cards is driven by privacy concerns.
    People age 65 and older are often targeted by fraud and identity theft criminals. The removal of the SSN from the new cards will help protect your personal information, and help prevent this type of crime.
  1. The SSN will be replaced with a unique Medicare Number.
    This number, which is also known as a Medicare Beneficiary Identifier, will be unique to you and not given to any other Medicare member. This number will identify you in a safer way than your SSN, and it will include both letters and numbers.
  1. Once you get your new card, destroy your old card.
    When you receive your new Medicare card in the mail, you may begin using it immediately. Safely destroy your old card upon receiving your new card.
  1. CMS will never ask for your personal information.
    CMS will never contact you to ask for your private information. Requests of this nature should be viewed as fraudulent. Only share your Medicare number with providers you trust.

To help ensure you receive your new Medicare card, it’s important you have a current address on file with Social Security. You may update your address by visiting ssa.gov/myaccount or call 1-800-772-1213. TTY users may call 1-800-325-0778. You may also stay updated on the progress of the new Medicare card transition by visiting the CMS website.

Updated on: 04/06/18
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