If you are over 65 and on Medicare, pay attention to your mailbox, the old-fashioned kind outside your residence. The US government is issuing new Medicare cards, with a new identification code unique to you that replaces your current Social Security-based number. This is a security improvement, and should help prevent fraud.
But scammers are already trying to exploit the switch.
Here’s what you need to know to protect yourself:
- Representatives of Medicare will NEVER call you uninvited and ask for personal or private information.
- Your new Medicare card is FREE
- Medicare will NOT ask you to confirm your Social Security number before you can receive your new card.
- If a caller asks you for money, or threatens to cancel your health benefits if you don’t share your personal information, hang up and call 1-800-MEDICARE.
The cards are going out starting April 2018, first to people who are enrolling in Medicare for the first time, and over the coming months to everyone who already has Medicare. If you’d like to get an alert when your new card is in the mail, sign up at www.Medicare.gov/NewCard
Once you get your new Medicare card, shred your old card (do not just toss it in the trash, since it contains your Social Security number), and start using your new card right away.