Despite all the concern about identity theft, and protecting one’s identity, there has for decades been one card, carried by tens of millions of people, that broadcasts their Social Security number: the Medicare card.
For that reason, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have redesigned the card, replacing the Social Security number with a new Medicare number.
Instead of using the Social Security number as an ID number, the new Medicare card will use a unique combination of letters and numbers. This new Medicare ID number will be composed of a combination 11 letters and digits. The letters S, L, O, I, and Z will not be used, but all numbers, 0 through 9, may be part of the new ID number. A facsimile of the new card is pictured here.
Residents of seventeen states have already received their cards, and thirteen more states, including New York and New Jersey, are currently in the process of mailing out cards. The entire process is expected to be completed by April of 2019.
The advent of the new cards has sparked a multitude of scams targeting Medicare recipients. According to the AARP, seniors are vulnerable to these scams in several ways. More than three quarters did not know about the new cards. Sixty percent believed they might have to pay a “processing fee” for the new cards, and fifty percent said they would not be surprised to receive a call from Medicare requiring them to verify their Social Security numbers over the phone in order to receive the new card.
In fact, CMS does not call about cards, and they are sent out automatically, completely free of charge.
If you would like to find out if your card has been mailed, you can request an email notification from the government by clicking here.
So, check your mailbox for your new card, but be wary if you get a call.
One of the best ways to make sure your older loved one does not for prey to any of the scams targeting older people is to have them live safely in a home that is designed to suit all their needs. Hamilton Grove Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, in Hamilton, NJ, has specially trained caregivers who make sure all our residents are happy — and safe, regarding their health as well as their pocketbook.