Scams and the new Medicare cards

A new phone scam is tricking seniors into giving out their Medicare and personal information in order to receive their new Medicare cards.

Beneficiaries are receiving phone calls where the scammers are posing as Medicare representatives asking for Medicare card numbers and personal information. The scammers are also claiming the beneficiary’s health insurance plans and Medicare will be canceled if they don’t give the caller their Medicare number.

Don’t ever share your Medicare number or your personal information. Medicare won’t ever call you requesting that information.

CMS will be issuing new Medicare cards starting in April of this year and continuing through April of 2019. North Dakota will NOT be in the first wave of mailing for the new Medicare cards. North Dakotans should not expect their new cards until after June 2018.

Medicare cards are sent to beneficiaries within three months of their 65th birthday after they apply online or at their local Social Security office. Fifteen percent of the U.S. population or 44 million people are enrolled in Medicare. In 2015, there were 118,883 Medicare beneficiaries in North Dakota representing 16 percent of the state’s total population.

This upcoming change has already caused confusion for beneficiaries – scammers love to take advantage of confusion. Here are some facts about the new Medicare cards:

– Your new Medicare card will automatically be sent to you. You do not need to reapply for Medicare.

– When CMS issues your new card, they will mail it to you. They will NOT call asking for identifying information relating to the issuance of the new Medicare card. They will NOT call asking you to confirm your current Medicare number (Social Security) before sending you a new card.

– Your new Medicare card will not have your Social Security number. The new Medicare card will have a new Medicare number which is unique to you, and will be an 11-digit identifier that’s a mix of numbers and letters.

– There is not a fee for your new Medicare card. Do not provide anyone with payment or checking/savings account information to pay for a new card.

The issuance of the new Medicare card is a significant change. If a beneficiary or caregiver has any questions, please contact ND SMP at ndsmp@minotstateu.edu or 1-800-233-1737.