The New Medicare Cards
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced that the new Medicare Cards are on the way and should start to arrive in April 2018. They will be gradually phased in and will take approximately a year to complete. For any questions or to see how this will affect your Wisconsin Medicare Supplement Plan, call 920-545-4884 for answers or to get compare Medicare Supplement rates. Continue reading for details on the New Medicare Cards.
While the process is slated to start in April of 2018, Wisconsin’s sequence will begin after June 2018. They are speculating that the change over will take 12-18 months to complete.
The new cards are different than previous cards because they will contain a new Medicare Claim Number which is will be changed to a Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) and will NOT be your Social Security number. This may not seem like a big deal to Medicare recipients, but it is, and here’s why.
Because of obvious security issues, the new Medicare cards will no longer have your Social Security number listed on the front for everyone to see. The new card will have a randomly assigned identification number that is not related to your Social Security number in any way, shape, or form.
These new numbers will substantially cut down on cases of fraud and identity theft. Since about 60 million cards will be sent via the U.S. mail, CMS is expecting it to take almost a year for all cards to be sent.
Protect Yourself | 2018 Medicare
Here are some helpful tips to help protect yourself.
- Beware of Scammers – There is still potential for fraud. There have been reports already that phone callers are calling Medicare beneficiaries and asking for credit or debit card information to pay for the new card. THERE IS NO CHARGE FOR YOUR NEW CARD.
- Update Your Address – If you have moved recently and haven’t yet updated your address with CMS, do it now. This is simple to do online at MyAccount or by visiting your nearest Social Security office.
- Be Patient – Since it will take about a year for all Medicare recipients to receive their new Medicare card, your old card can still be used and your patience will be appreciated.
New Medicare Card will Look Similar to Your Old One
Your new card will look a lot like your old card. It will still list your name, your Medicare number, which Parts you are enrolled in, and the effective date. It will not, however, list your gender as it did on previous cards.
As you can see, the cards look very similar but have one glaring difference – YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER IS NOWHERE TO BE FOUND ON THE NEW CARD!
Medicare Fraud Prevention Starts With You
Although your new Medicare card will no longer list your Social Security number, you should still remain diligent about protecting the information on it from those who may be trying to commit fraud and scam you.
Medicare.gov has published the following tips to help you not become a victim of fraud:
- Do protect your Medicare Number (on your Medicare card) and your Social Security Number (on your Social Security card). Treat your Medicare card like it's a credit card.
- Do remember that nothing is ever "free." Don't accept offers of money or gifts for free medical care.
- Do ask questions. You have a right to know everything about your medical care including the costs billed to Medicare.
- Do educate yourself about Medicare. Know your rights and know what a provider can and can't bill to Medicare.
- Do use a calendar to record all of your doctor's appointments and what tests or X-rays you get. Then check your Medicare statements carefully to make sure you got each service listed and that all the details are correct. If you spend time in a hospital, make sure the admission date, discharge date, and diagnosis on your bill are correct.
- Do be wary of providers who tell you that the item or service isn't usually covered, but they "know how to bill Medicare" so Medicare will pay.
- Do make sure you understand how a plan works before you join.
- Do always check your pills before you leave the pharmacy to be sure you got the correct medication, including whether it's a brand or generic and the full amount. If you don’t get your full prescription, report the problem to the pharmacist.
- Do report suspected instances of fraud.
There are also certain things that you should not do which will also help prevent you from becoming a victim of Medicare fraud:
- Don't allow anyone, except your doctor or other Medicare providers, to review your medical records or recommend services.
- Don't contact your doctor to request a service that you don't need.
- Don't let anyone persuade you to see a doctor for care or services you don't need.
- Don't accept medical supplies from a door-to-door salesman. If someone comes to your door claiming to be from Medicare or Medicaid, remember that Medicare and Medicaid don't send representatives to your home to sell products or services.
- Don't be influenced by certain media advertising about your health. Many television and radio ads don't have your best interest at heart.
- Don't give your Medicare card, Medicare Number, Social Security card, or Social Security Number to anyone except your doctor or people you know should have it.
Medicare Highlights from July 30, 1965 until Today
1965 – President Lyndon Johnson signs Medicare into law and Harry Truman is the first U.S. citizen to enroll.
1966 – Over 19 million Americans age 65 and older enroll in Medicare.
1972 – President Nixon extends Medicare eligibility to include Americans under age 65 that have long-term disabilities or end-stage renal disease.
1997 – Plans offered by private insurers that were originally known as Medicare+Choice or Part C, later renamed Medicare Advantage — begin, giving beneficiaries the option of choosing an HMO-style Medicare plan instead of the traditional fee-for-service Medicare program.
2003 – President George W. Bush expands Medicare with the Medicare Modernization Act and establishes prescription drug benefits called Part D.
2006 – The new Part D (prescription drug) goes into effect and beneficiaries start receiving subsidized coverage for prescription drugs.
2010 – President Obama’s Affordable Care Act mandates that beneficiaries receive additional preventive care services and health screenings free of charge and reduces the out-of-pocket expenses paid by Part D enrollees.
Medicare has become an enormous program that is expected to continue to grow every year. Currently, with California leading the pack at 5,644,384 beneficiaries, Medicare services over 55 million Americans; significantly up from 49 million in 2011.
For any questions on Medicare or Medicare Health Plans in Wisconsin you can call us anytime at 920-545-4884. You can also get a free Medicare Supplement Quote by filling out the form above. Online chat with us for instant answers.