Medicare Cards Should Arrive in Mail Soon
A Sun Staff Report
LOWELL -- Massachusetts residents should expect their new Medicare cards to arrive in the mail soon, but without their Social Security numbers. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has taken that extra step to help protect against fraud.
Instead, there will be a randomly assigned Medicare number on the card.
“Removing Social Security numbers from Medicare cards is one of the many ways CMS is committed to putting patients first and improving the consumer healthcare experience,” Ray Hurd, regional administrator for the Boston and New York Regional Offices of CMS, said in a press release. “This change not only protects Medicare patients from fraud, but also safeguards taxpayer dollars by making it harder for criminals to use Social Security numbers to falsely bill Medicare for care services and benefits that were never performed.”
There will be a 21-month transitional period, allowing health care providers to use the newly issued Medicare numbers or Social Security numbers. As soon as Medicare cards are received, CMS recommends safely and securely destroying the old one.
CMS suggests those with Medicare benefits follow these tips to avoid scams:
* Do not pay for a new Medicare card.
* Medicare will not contact you for personal information or your Medicare number to obtain a new card.
* Only provide your Medicare number to doctors, pharmacists, other health care providers, insurers and people you trust to work with Medicare for you.
* Safeguard your card.
For more information, visit www.medicare.gov/newcard .