The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has started mailing its redesigned Medicare card to people with Medicare to replace traditional cards.
As we have reported, the card redesign is a result of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015, which required the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to issue new cards that do not display the cardholder’s Social Security number (SSN) by April 2019. For many years, several government agencies, including the OIG, maintained that removing the SSN from the widely used Medicare card could protect people from identity theft and medical fraud.
There is no cost for the new cards, nor is it necessary for people with Medicare to take any action with CMS or Social Security. However, CMS suggests people might want to ensure that SSA has their current address in its Medicare records. To verify an address, contact Social Security online via the my Social Security account or by phone at 1-800-772-1213.
Also, people with Medicare can get information about the card mailings and sign up for emails about the status of mailings in their area on CMS’s New Medicare Card website. Check out the video below from CMS for more about the card mailings.
Guard Your Card and Medicare ID
While the new card will not display an SSN, it is still critical that you continue to protect your Medicare information. Leaving Medicare cards unprotected could potentially lead to medical identity theft—when someone uses your Medicare or health insurance number to submit false claims.
In the SSN’s place, the new Medicare card will include a new Medicare Number that's unique to you. The new number is made up of 11 "unintelligent" characters, or randomly assigned numbers and letters. Still, CMS encourages people to protect their Medicare Number as they would their SSN or other personal information.
Further, CMS suggests the following so people can remain vigilant with their Medicare information:
- Beware of calls, letters, emails, texts, or any type of solicitation requesting your personal or health insurance information.
- Stay alert to companies or organizations contacting you about the card and charging fees.
- Do not pay any money for Medicare cards. CMS will never charge a fee to send the cards and will not ask for personal or private information.
- Do not accept money, goods, or services for the use of your health insurance card or Medicare Number.
When Your New Card Arrives
People with Medicare can continue using their current card until the new card arrives. They should experience a seamless transition when using their new card.
Also, there is no change in benefit coverage, entitlement, or responsibilities for cardholders. New cards will show the cardholder’s original dates of entitlement to health and medical insurance benefits.
Until the new card arrives, CMS said people with Medicare should continue to exercise patience and caution. Do not engage with companies or persons who initiate contact and offer you Medicare cards or services for a fee.
If you do not receive your new card within the suggested timeframe, or if you have other questions or concerns, please contact CMS directly at 1-800-633-4227 or visit the New Medicare Card website.