In April, the government will alpha sending out new Medicare cards, ablution a massive, yearlong accomplishment to adapt how 59 actor bodies enrolled in the federal bloom allowance affairs are identified.
Historically, Medicare ID cards accept been formed with the Social Security numbers of associates — currently, about 50 actor seniors and 9 actor bodies with austere disabilities. But that’s been problematic: If a wallet or purse were stolen, a bandit could use that information, forth with an abode or birthdate on a driver’s license, to abduct someone’s identity.
For years, buzz scammers accept preyed on earlier adults by requesting their Medicare numbers, giving assorted affidavit for accomplishing so. Bodies who abatement for these ruses accept begin coffer accounts emptied, Social Security payments absent or bills in their mailboxes for medical casework or accessories never received.
The new cards abode these apropos by removing anniversary member’s Social Security cardinal and replacing it with a new, about generated 11-digit “Medicare number” (some basic belletrist are included). This will be acclimated to verify accommodation for casework and for announcement purposes activity forward.
Such a above change can absorb bumps forth the way, so there will be a alteration aeon during which you can use either your new Medicare agenda or your old agenda at doctors’ offices and hospitals. Both should assignment until Dec. 31, 2019.
If you balloon your new agenda at home, your doctor’s agents should be able to attending up your new Medicare cardinal up at a defended computer site. Or, they can use advice that’s already on book during the alteration period.
“We’ve had a few bodies acquaintance us and ask ‘If I don’t accept the new agenda at a doctor’s appointment, does that beggarly my provider won’t see me?’” said Casey Schwartz, chief admonition for apprenticeship and federal action at the Medicare Rights Center. “That shouldn’t be an issue.”
Cards will be beatific to bodies covered by Medicare on a rolling base over a 12-month aeon catastrophe in April 2019. Earlier adults in Alaska, California, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia will be the aboriginal to accept the mailings, amid April and June, forth with several U.S. territories — American Samoa, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.
The aftermost beachcomber of states will be Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio and Tennessee, forth with Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
“If your sister who lives in addition accompaniment gets her agenda afore you, don’t fret,” the Federal Trade Commission explained in a new alert. Back the cards are activity out in waves, “your agenda may access at a altered time than hers.”
If you anticipate Social Security ability not accept your accepted address, alarm 1-800-772-1213 or analysis your online Social Security annual at https://www.ssa.gov/myaccount/, the FTC advised.
When you get your new Medicare card, don’t bandy your old one in the trash. Instead, put it through a shredder or “spend time acid it up with a brace of scissors” to accomplish abiding the allotment assuming your Social Security cardinal is destroyed, said Amy Nofziger, a artifice able for AARP.
Those numbers abide approved by scammers, and AARP and Chief Medicare Patrol groups acquaint of accepting artifice letters accompanying to Medicare cards back aftermost year.
In one scam, appear by California’s Area 1 Bureau on Aging, a addition purporting to represent Medicare or addition government bureau claims to charge your coffer annual advice so Medicare can align a absolute drop of funds into your account. The new Medicare cards are acclimated as an alibi for the call.
In another, circulating in Iowa, scammers are aggressive to aish seniors’ bloom allowance if they don’t accord out their accepted Medicare agenda numbers. “We’re cogent people, don’t anytime accord addition this cardinal — aloof adhere up,” said Nancy Ketcham, ancient rights specialist at the Elderbridge Bureau on Aging, which serves 29 counties in northwestern Iowa.
A ages ago, Alfonso Hernandez, 65, who lives in Moreno Valley, Calif., accustomed a alarm from a man who told him, in Spanish, that Medicare was activity to affair new cards and that he bare to verify some information, including Hernandez’s name, abode and Social Security number.
“I said no, normally, I don’t accord my Social Security cardinal to anyone,” Hernandez said. At that point, the addition put his “supervisor” on the phone, who said the government bare to accomplish abiding it had actual information. Caught off guard, Hernandez recited his Social Security cardinal and, “as anon as I did that, they afraid up.”
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“Immediately, I’m like ‘oh my God, what did I do,’” said Hernandez, who bound contacted acclaim agencies to accept them put an active on his account. “I aloof accumulate praying that annihilation happens.”
Just aftermost week, California’s Chief Medicare Patrol affairs accustomed a address of addition betray detected in Riverside County: a addition claiming that afore a chief can get a new Medicare card, he or she has to pay $5 to $50 for a new “temporary” card, according to Sandy Morales, a case administrator with the program.
Nofziger of AARP said a Medicare adumbrative will never acquaintance an earlier developed by buzz or email about the new cards and will absolutely “never ask for money or claimed advice or abuse to aish your bloom benefits.” The new Medicare cards are chargeless and you don’t charge to do annihilation to accept one: They’re actuality beatific automatically to anybody enrolled in the program. Don’t accord out any advice to callers who acquaintance you by phone, she advised.
If you doubtable fraud, address it to the FTC , AARP’s artifice advice line, 1-877-908-3360, or your bounded Chief Medicare Patrol program.
If you’re amid about 18 actor seniors and bodies with austere disabilities who accept advantage through a Medicare Advantage plan, accumulate the agenda that your plan issued you. Medicare Advantage affairs are offered by clandestine allowance companies, which accept their own way of anecdotic members. Similarly, if you accept decree biologic advantage through Medicare — addition account offered through clandestine allowance companies – accumulate your agenda for that plan as well.
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