CHICAGO (Reuters) – (The biographer is a Reuters columnist. The opinions bidding are his own.)
FILE PHOTO: A block to bless the 52nd Anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid is apparent on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., July 27, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas/File Photo
Navigating Medicare can be complicated, but one big change afresh alien requires that you do actually annihilation above aperture an envelope. In fact, accomplishing aloof about annihilation abroad could accessible the aperture to a damaging identity-fraud scam.
Medicare is commitment out new identification cards to 59 actor Americans this year and in aboriginal 2019. The old Medicare cards use Social Security numbers as identifiers; the new cards use a unique, about assigned number. The about-face is allotment of a across-the-board federal action to bolster defenses adjoin artifice by abbreviation the boundless use of Social Security numbers as identifiers throughout the government.
Trouble is, buzz scammers are demography the agenda backup affairs as an befalling to ambition seniors. The best accepted ambush is to alarm Medicare enrollees and acquaint them they charge pay for their new cards, again appeal their coffer annual advice or Social Security numbers.
That opens the aperture to character theft.
“We are audition from bodies who accept been told their Social Security payments will stop advancing unless they accord the addition their claimed information, or that they can’t accelerate the new Medicare agenda unless they get a payment,” said Amy Nofziger, a artifice able with AARP.
In fact, the new agenda is free, and you do not charge to do annihilation to get it. The new agenda does not change your Medicare advantage in any way. And Medicare will not be calling you about this. Aloof accumulate an eye out for an envelope absolute the new card, and again accord the new cardinal to your healthcare providers. Again backing the agenda abroad for safekeeping, aback accustomed it about creates yet addition annexation risk. Finally, abort the old card.
Unfortunately, we’ve got a abortion to communicate, to digest the 1967 blur archetypal “Cool Hand Luke.”
An AARP analysis conducted in March begin that 76 percent of adults age-old 65 and earlier had not seen, apprehend or heard “much of annihilation at all” about the new Medicare cards, or were not abiding if they had. Three-quarters could not accurately analyze the key change advancing with the new Medicare identification numbers.
Nearly two-thirds were borderline or incorrect in cerebration that Medicare would be charging beneficiaries a $25 processing fee for the new cards. And 56 percent were borderline or incorrect in cerebration that Medicare would be calling to verify their Social Security cardinal afore they could accept their new card.
Anyone signing up for Medicare now automatically receives the new card. Commitment of backup cards already is complete in some eastern states (Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia). The cards are in the mail now for best Midwestern states, additional California and Oregon. All new cards will be beatific by abutting April. Details on the cachet of every accompaniment can be begin on the Medicare website (bit.ly/2Jlf3Dm)
Most of the artifice schemes are actuality conducted by phone, Nofziger said. So compassionate Medicare buzz protocols is key.
As a accepted matter, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) does not acquaintance enrollees for Medicare numbers or added claimed information, unless they accept accepted permission in advance. The alone time you ability accept a accepted buzz alarm from Medicare is if you accept accustomed CMS permission to alarm in advance; also, Medicare Advantage or decree biologic affairs may alarm if you already are a affiliate of that plan.
You additionally ability get a alarm from Medicare if you accept larboard a bulletin requesting a call-back. More advice on preventing Medicare artifice can be begin at the CMS website: (bit.ly/1QneOn0). The Social Security Administration does sometimes alarm beneficiaries for chump account purposes, but assembly never ask for claimed information.
If you are not assertive that a alarm from Medicare or Social Security is legitimate, adhere up and alarm the bureau aback on the chump account lines: 1-800-633-4227 or 1-800-772-1213 for Social Security.
If you accept been victimized by a Medicare artifice scam, put a benumb or artifice active on your acclaim with one of the three above acclaim advertisement companies (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax). Nofziger addendum you charge alarm alone one of these companies, which will in about-face active the others. Additionally acquaint your coffer and acclaim agenda providers.
AARP maintains a artifice hotline that can accommodate help: 1-877-908-3360.
Do You Get A New Medicare Card Every Year – do you get a new medicare card every year
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