New Law Will Change Medicare Numbers – Watch for Scams

medicare-logoMost of us know that your Medicare card number is your Social Security number. Finally, the federal government has decided to change the practice of putting Social Security numbers on Medicare cards. A new law requires the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to issue new Medicare cards that don’t display, code, or embed Social Security numbers. The change is to lessen the risk for ID theft.

The change away from Social Security numbers will not happen overnight, however. The law gives the government four years to issue the modernized cards to new beneficiaries, and four more years to issue the new cards to existing beneficiaries.

Nonetheless, scam artists may begin right away to call and tell you they are helping with the change. You need to be aware. Medicare and Social Security will NOT call you and ask for your numbers. Be on guard if someone calls you to tell you they are re-processing cards, issuing new cards or assigning new numbers.

Never give your personal information out over the phone. We strongly encourage you to verify the legitimacy of text messages, emails, or phone calls by people who say they are from Social Security. Please contact your local Social Security office, or call Social Security’s nationwide toll-free customer service at 800-772-1213. Or call us at the Missouri Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) at 888-515-6565 to report suspected fraud or abuse.

Your Senior Medicare Patrol can help you with questions, concerns, or complaints about potential Medicare and Medicaid fraud and abuse issues. SMPs are funded through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Community Living, Administration on Aging.

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