Beginning in April 2018 58 million Medicare beneficiaries will begin to receive new Medicare cards. The big change is that a Medicare beneficiary’s Social Security number will no longer be part of the Medicare number.
Instead, the new cards will feature a randomly assigned Medicare beneficiary identifier (MIB). The MBI will be generated from randomly selected numbers. The characters will have no special meaning. Other changes include the removal of the cardholder’s gender and the signature line.
The new Medicare cards are due to the signing of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015. This represents a major effort by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to fight fraud against seniors.
According to CMS identity theft among seniors has increased to 2.6 million from 2.1 million between 2012 and 2014. Further, two-thirds of all identity theft victims reported a direct financial loss.
The new cards will be sent automatically. There is no action that a Medicare beneficiary has to take.
The new Medicare card is free.
Already there are new scams because of the new cards. If someone calls you asking for payment for the new card, that's a scam.
If someone calls you claiming to be from Medicare and asking for your social security number don’t give it to them. That’s a scam.
Be extremely vigilant. With the mailing of the new Medicare cards, seniors should be very careful if someone asks for personal information. Ask the caller for their phone number and tell them that you will call them back after you check with your son or daughter or financial planner.
Just because you receive a new Medicare card with the new number there are no changes to your Medicare benefits. Your benefits will be the same as they have always been.
For more information, go to www.Medicare.gov