New Medicare cards begin rollout

By Erica Greenspan, LCSW-C
Coordinator, Resident Services

Many of you have heard that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will began issuing new Medicare cards to all beneficiaries starting in April. This massive effort is in response to criticism that the current Medicare cards include the member’s Social Security number, thus leaving you vulnerable to fraud and identity theft. The Social-Security-based claim number on your current Medicare card will be replaced with a Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI), consisting of 11 randomly-assigned characters.

Issuing new cards to the more than 60 million Medicare members is going to take time, so although new cards will be mailed out starting April 2018, CMS expects the process to last an entire year. The new cards will be mailed out in phases based on geographic location. However, you may not receive your card at the same time as your neighbor, so be patient. You’ll want to make sure your mailing address on file is accurate. If this need to be updated, call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 or visit ssa.gov/myaccount as soon as possible. Over the coming months, be on the lookout for an official piece of mail from CMS!

A few significant notes:

• The new Medicare Beneficiary Identifier will not change your Medicare benefits.

• You may start using the new Medicare card as soon as you receive it.

• Be aware of scams! Medicare or Social Security will never call you asking for personal information. You will always receive an official letter. If you receive a letter or call that seems suspicious, tell someone.

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