4 things scammers hope you don’t know

Many people have heard the great news about the new Medicare cards… we had a party when we first found out! However, there still seems to be a lot of confusion about the details. And if there’s one thing scammers like to take advantage of, it’s confusion. We want to clear some things up for you so those pesky scammers can’t turn this good news into bad news.

Here are four things that scammers hope you don’t know:

#1 Your current Medicare
number is your SSN
Believe it or not, there are still some folks who aren’t aware that the number on their Medicare card is a Social Security Number with a letter added to the end. For some, it’s their own SSN; for others, it could be that of a spouse or relative. Regardless, a SSN in the wrong hands is a recipe for disaster. Scammers are still pulling the oldest trick in the book: calling beneficiaries, threatening their benefits or soliciting fake offers, and convincing them to cough up their Medicare numbers. Be very careful who you share that information with!

#2 The new cards – without
your SSN – won’t start
rolling out until April 2018
Scammers know that change makes everyone a little anxious – regardless of how great the news may be. Make sure you don’t fall for a scammer offering to send your new card early. Remember that CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) won’t begin mailing out new cards until April of 2018, and they have until April of 2019 to complete this enormous, yet necessary, project!

#3 You don’t have to do
ANYTHING to receive
or activate your new card
Some folks have received calls from people claiming to be Medicare representatives, asking them to confirm all of their personal information (e.g. full name, Medicare number, address) so they can ensure everything is correct in their database. Others have received calls informing them they need to pay a fee in order to receive the new card. Please don’t fall for it! The bottom line is that you do not need to do ANYTHING to initiate the process of receiving your new Medicare card. CMS will mail beneficiaries their new cards automatically. No need to confirm anything, no need to empty your wallet.

#4 Your benefits will stay the same
Many people have asked whether or not their benefits will change with the new card. Rest assured your coverage will not change with the new Medicare number. You can start using your new card as soon as you receive it in the mail.

Jenna Gladfelter

Jenna Gladfelter is director of NY Senior Medicare Patrol, a program designed to educate Medicare beneficiaries, their families, and caregivers about how to prevent, detect, and report healthcare fraud. If you believe you've been a victim of a health care fraud or scam, call the NY SMP hotline at 877-678-4697. For more info, visit www.liveon-ny.org/senior-medicare-patrol

Latest posts by Jenna Gladfelter