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Protect your loved one from Medicare card scams

BHC medicare cards blog.jpgNew Medicare cards are going out to millions of seniors across the country, and scammers are taking advantage.

Individuals who are new to  Medicare are receiving the updated card. For greater security, the new cards displays unique combination of 11 letters and numbers rather than a beneficiary's Social Security number (SSN). Current beneficiaries will receive new cards throughout the next 12 months as new cards will continue to roll out through April 2019.

“Seniors, unfortunately, are frequently targeted by these types of schemes,” said Belvedere Home Care President John McCooey. “When it comes to something as vital as their Medicare, they want to do whatever they can to keep their benefits in place, which makes them especially vulnerable.”

Scammers may pose as someone who needs to verify the seniors SSN so they can receive or activate the card. Or they may demand a processing fee. Medicare officials have emphasized that they will never call or ask any information to verify the cards, which are being mailed out by the Social Security Administration.

According to a new AARP survey*:

  • More than three-quarters of Americans over age 65 know little or nothing about the new Medicare cards
  • Nearly two-thirds (63%) of Medicare beneficiaries are unsure or are incorrect in believing that Medicare will charge new beneficiaries a $25 processing fee for the new card.
  • More than half said they would probably not be suspicious if they received a call asking them to verify their SSN a prerequisite to getting the new card.

Remind your loved ones:

  • A new card is on its way sometime in the next year. Until then keep using your current card.
  • Enrollees don’t need to do anything to receive the new card.
  • Medicare officials will never call anyone about the cards.
  • The cards are free to everyone, even if they are new to Medicare.
  • Don’t share your Medicare Number or other personal information with anyone who contacts you by phone, email, or by approaching you in person, unless you’ve given them permission in advance.

Those who are currently enrolled in Medicare Advantage should continue using the cards provided by their insurance carriers, which don't contain Social Security numbers. However, their providers may still want a copy of their new Medicare cards.

If someone calls you or a loved one and asks for a Medicare Number or other personal information, hang up and call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). 

If you suspect identity theft or feel like you gave your personal information to someone you shouldn't have, contact the Federal Trade Commission.

Learn more about the new cards and potential hazards at www.medicare.gov/forms-help-and-resources/identity-theft.

*Sauer, Jennifer. 2018 AARP Survey:  Experience and Knowledge of Medicare Scams. Washington, DC: AARP Research, March  2018. https://doi.org/10.26419/res.00222.001