In 2015, Congress passed legislation to remove Social Security numbers from Medicare cards, and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) just completed issuing new cards.
It is critically important to protect your private information, and removing social security numbers from your Medicare card is an important step. Personal identity fraud and abuse are increasing threats, and I wanted to make sure you know the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is actively taking steps to decrease identity theft for Medicare beneficiaries. The new cards have been mailed out to seniors, and Medicare patients are already successfully using them in doctor’s offices and other health care facilities. Below is some helpful information from CMS surrounding the transition between Medicare identification cards:
For anyone with Medicare who has not received a new card by now, CMS offers these tips:
- Call 1-800-MEDICARE for assistance. They will verify your identity, check your address on record, and help you get your new card.
- Log into your MyMedicare.gov account to get your new Medicare number or print your official card. The new Medicare number is now available in your account, even if you didn’t receive your card in the mail. Accounts are password-protected and secure. To access or create an account, visit MyMedicare.gov.
- Ask your health care provider. Providers may be able to look up your Medicare number through a secure portal when you come in for health care services.
Although the new Medicare cards are designed to protect against identity theft, people with Medicare should continue to look out for scams. CMS offers these tips:
- Destroy your old Medicare card so no one can get your personal information.
- Start using your new Medicare card right away. Carry it when you need health care. Medicare coverage and benefits are the same. The new card does not impact or change your health care benefits.
- Keep your other plan cards. If you’re in a Medicare Advantage Plan (like an HMO or PPO) or a Medicare Drug Plan, keep using that plan ID card whenever you need care or prescriptions. However, please carry and protect your new Medicare card too — you may be asked to show it.
- Protect your Medicare number just like a credit card. Only give the new Medicare number to doctors, pharmacists, other health care providers, insurers, or people you trust to work with Medicare on your behalf. Medicare will never call uninvited for your Medicare number or other personal information.
It is vital that we secure and protect sensitive personal material, most of all health information. We must continue to work toward increased security measures so that Medicare beneficiaries are protected from identity theft. Please feel free to reach out to my office if you have any questions or concerns about your ID card.