OKLAHOMA CITY – New Medicare cards will soon be sent to 59 million beneficiaries, and there are a few things you need to know to protect yourself against potential scams.
Starting in April, Medicare will be removing Social Security numbers from Medicare cards and begin mailing them out to everyone who gets benefits. The new cards will have a randomly generated 11-character number. This will happen automatically, and you don’t need to do anything or pay anyone to get your new card.
Medicare will mail your card, at no cost, to the address you have on file with the Social Security Administration. If you need to update your mailing address, visit the Social Security account online or call 800-772-1213.
The cards will be mailed in waves to various parts of the country over a 12-month period beginning in April and ending next April in 2019. Medicare beneficiaries in Alaska, California, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia will be the first to receive the new cards.
Oklahomans won’t start receiving their new cards until sometime after June 2018.
When you get your new card, don’t throw out your old one. Instead, shred it or cut it up with a pair of scissors. If you have a separate Medicare Advantage card, keep it because you’ll still need it for treatment.
Watch Out For Scams
As the new Medicare cards start being mailed, be on the lookout for Medicare scams. Here are some tips:
- Don’t pay for your new card. It’s yours for free. If anyone calls and says you need to pay for it, that’s a scam.
- Don’t give personal information to get your card. If someone calls claiming to be from Medicare, asking for your Social Security number or bank information, that’s a scam. Hang up. Medicare will never ask you to give personal information to get your new number and card.
- Guard your card. When you get your new card, safeguard it like you would any other health insurance or credit card. While removing the Social Security number cuts down on many types of identity theft, you’ll still want to protect your new card because identity thieves could use it to get medical services.