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New Medicare Cards are coming with Old Problems

Written by Brian Gruss

There is great news for Medicare enrollees, and a bit of caution regarding scammers.  The good news is that Medicare will be sending out new Medicare cards to each recipient.  The cards will arrive sometime between April 1st of this year and will be completed by April 1st of 2019.  

The new cards will not have the enrollee’s Social Security number on them, as they do now.  This is a significant accomplishment for Medicare and is being done

New Medicare Card

To help put a stop to identity theft via Social Security identification numbers.  This problem has been rampant nationally and is a severe problem for Medicare enrollees who have had their cards compromised by identity thieves.

The Good

The new cards will have an encrypted 11 digit number, which even the holder will not be able to “unencrypt.”  So that is the good news. According to Medicare, Washington, Idaho, and Montana will be in the sixth wave of states being sent the new cards, and that delivery won’t begin until after June 2018.

The Bad

But, along with the good news, bad news sometimes seems to follow.  The bad news is that Medicare scammers have already jumped into the game.  There is more than one technique involved, but these are the two most used.

First, identity thieves are calling Medicare recipients, sometimes identifying themselves as Medicare or “government” officials, and telling them that the new cards are coming out, but that they will have to send $30-50 to get the new cards.  That is bogus—there is no charge for the new cards—and CMS/Medicare does not call people—and will only use the US Postal Service to communicate to you unless you call in. Be aware that they can spoof the phone number or name that shows up on your caller id.

The second technique is for the thief to say that they have a Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug Plan available, but then request personal Medicare information so that the new plan can be utilized.  This is also bogus! Whatever you do, do not fall for this. Medicare information is personal, and the thieves only use it for other nefarious activities.

So, we don’t know when or how the scammers will spring into operation in Washington, or the Spokane region,  But, if or when you receive one of these calls, just hang up, and report the illicit activity with a call to 1-800-Medicare.  And…above all, do not feel pressured to respond to any of these calls—the thieves are well-trained in intimidation and persistence.  Don’t fall for it.

For information about the New Medicare Card

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