New Medicare Scam Emerges
as Redesigned Medicare Cards Are Announced for 2018
You are getting a new Medicare card!
On April 16th of 2015, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) became public law. The new law requires all Social Security numbers to be removed from Medicare cards by April of 2019. The Social Security number will be replaced by a new number on all Medicare cards, called the Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI). The replacement will occur on a state by state basis beginning in April, 2018 and continuing until April 2019. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) hasn't published when each state will transition to the new card.
According to CMS, preventing identity theft for those with Medicare is the main priority of this bill. The new Medicare Beneficiary Identifier is a randomly-assigned number that will be used for most healthcare related transactions. The MBI will be clearly different than your Social Security number according to CMS. The MBI will be made up of 11 characters that will contain numbers and upper-case letters; no other special characters will be used.
The Department of Justice has reported that seniors 65 and older are increasingly being targeted by identity thieves. They have reported that incidents of identity theft have increased from 2.1 million in 2012 to 2.6 million in 2014.
This transition already has scammers looking for a new way to rip-off Medicare recipients. Reuters news service reports that Seniors are being called and told that they must pay for their new Medicare card. According to the report, the senior that filed the complaint, was asked for their checking account information and Medicare card numbers
A similar scam now making the rounds involves callers posing as government employees asking for personal data in order to confirm eligibility for the annual Social Security cost-of-living adjustment.
The Federal Trade Commission has verified this report and states that “Is someone calling, claiming to be from Medicare, and asking for your Social Security number or bank information? Hang up. That’s a scam.” According to the FTC, the new Medicare cards will be mailed out automatically, starting April of 2018, and are free to all 57 million Americans on Medicare.
To help protect you if your identity does get stolen by any means be sure to get identity theft protection in place. We recommend SecurUS for affordable plans. If you purchase using the below link you'll save a permanent 15% off of the regular price.