AP NewsBreak: Medicare card remake to protect seniors

AP Medical Author

WASHINGTON (AP) – Medicare playing cards are getting a makeover to struggle id theft.

No extra Social Safety numbers plastered on the cardboard. Subsequent April, Medicare will start mailing each beneficiary a brand new card with a singular new quantity to determine them.

“Criminals are more and more concentrating on individuals age sixty five and older for medical id theft,” Medicare chief Seema Verma informed The Related Press. “We’re dedicated to stopping fraud.”

Medicare is revealing the playing cards’ new design on Thursday as the federal government gears up for an enormous transition that may contain coordination with fifty eight million beneficiaries and their relations, plus hospitals, docs, insurance coverage corporations, pharmacies and state governments.

Whereas the primary mailings of latest playing cards start subsequent April, Congress has set an April 2019 deadline for all beneficiaries to have acquired one.

One aim is to ensure seniors know what’s coming so they are not confused by the change – and within the meantime, are reminded to protect their previous playing cards that, if misplaced or stolen, can depart them weak to monetary and authorized penalties. The federal government recorded 2.6 million instances of id fraud involving seniors in 2014, up from 2.1 million in 2012.

Verma stated one lady reported her Medicare card was stolen, obtained a alternative and thought no extra about it till two years later when she discovered she may be arrested: The thief had impersonated her to get opioid painkillers.

Medicare has arrange an internet site – www.cms.gov/newcard – and is starting advertisements to inform beneficiaries what to anticipate beginning subsequent spring. Medicare will routinely mail beneficiaries their new card. They will be instructed to destroy their previous playing cards after they get a brand new one. New playing cards could also be used instantly.

Personal insurers have already got stopped utilizing Social Safety numbers on ID playing cards.

Whereas the Medicare change is essential for seniors, the transition interval is also a time when crooks might pounce, warned AARP’s Amy Nofziger, a fraud prevention professional.

“If anybody calls you to say you might want to pay on your new Medicare card, it’s a rip-off,” she stated. “If anyone is looking you and asking you to confirm your Social Safety quantity as a way to problem your new Medicare card, it’s a rip-off.”

Copyright 2017 The Related Press. All rights reserved. This materials will not be revealed, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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