Identity theft is on the rise, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services (CMS) is taking steps against it. While everyone knows they should protect their social security number, Medicare had always emblazoned that number on the Medicare card, where it was used as each individual’s identification number. No more.
New Medicare cards, with new alphanumeric identification numbers, started rolling out in April of this year. Those mailings have already been completed for forty-three states and the District of Columbia. Mailings to the remaining seven states, plus Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, is taking place now.
During the transition, which will end on December 31, 2019, both the old and the new card will be accepted; but starting January 1, 2020 everyone will be expected to have their new card at the ready when seeking Medicare services.
Here are 4 of the most common questions regarding the new Medicare card:
1. How do I order my new Medicare card?
You don’t. You will receive it automatically — and beware if you receive a phone call from someone claiming to be a CMS worker who wants to “help” you get your new card. There are very few cases in which Medicare will call you on the phone, and this is not one of them. If you receive a call like that, it’s a scam and you should hang up immediately.
The only thing you need to do to make sure you get your new card is to confirm that your address is up-to-date with the Social Security Administration. You can do that by calling Social Security at 1-800-772-1213, or by signing into your Social Security account online.
2. Where is my card?
The CMS does not expect to finish mailing cards until April, 2019. If you would like to get an email notification when your card mails, click here.
3. Why doesn’t my new Medicare card look real?
While the old Medicare cards were plastic, the new ones are paper. No, it’s not a cost-cutting measure; healthcare providers find it easier to copy paper cards.
The new Medicare card also looks different than the old card, with changes that include Spanish headings. See the illustrations for images of both the old and new cards.
4. What do I do with my old card?
When you get your new Medicare card, you should destroy your old one by cutting it up or shredding it, in order to protect yourself from identity theft. If you have other Medicare plans, such as Medicare Advantage, a Part D Prescription plan, or a Medigap plan, you should keep those cards as well as your new Medicare card. You may need to present them in addition to your new card.
If you have any concerns about your new card or benefits, call 1-800-MEDICARE.
At Hamilton Grove Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, in Hamilton, NJ, we specialize in all aspects of senior care, including all the Medicare rules and updates. In addition, we design our care programs to meet the unique needs and interests of seniors and long-term care patients. We emphasize restorative care, maximizing each patient’s potential to regain and maintain function and mobility.
We foster an environment that is cheerful and enthusiastic, so residents truly relish and appreciate life.
Our outstanding Social Services team works hard to ensure that every resident thrives socially, emotionally, and spiritually.
We promote a culture of independence, crucial for emotional, social, and physical health. Residents are encouraged to choose their activity and meal preferences, and to perform tasks and activities as self-sufficiently as possible.
Or better yet, come see for yourself: Contact us to schedule a tour by calling 609-588-5800 or by clicking here.