Did you know there are changes being made to Medicare cards?
Did you ever wonder why your Social Security number is on your Medicare card? This certainly raises the potential for identity theft and is of great concern for older Americans.
Did you know that nearly 10,000 people apply for Medicare every day?
Identity protection changes which include the removal of the Social Security number are coming to Medicare cards. A new Federal law was signed by President Obama last year making this change. However, the changes won’t happen overnight.
Congress provided $320 million — over the course of four years — to cover the changes, with the money coming from Medicare trust funds that are funded by payroll and other taxes, as well as beneficiary premiums.
So meanwhile, Medicare beneficiaries will continue to be at risk until the changes are rolled out. About 80 million Americans are expected to be Medicare-eligible by 2035.
Here’s what the changes in Medicare cards mean for you and when you can expect to see them implemented:
1) Medicare has up to four years to issue Medicare cards without the Social Security numbers for people applying for Medicare for the first time.
2) Medicare has four more years (after the new issues) to issue new cards with new identifying numbers to people that currently have Medicare cards.
3) Medicare has eight years for everyone to have new identifying numbers.
In the meantime, how can a person protect themselves from identify theft?
An easy and effective way to protect yourself from identify theft is to not carry your Medicare card on your person unless you are going to a new doctor for the first time or to a hospital. (A hospital cannot refuse care if you don’t have a Medicare card.)
Don’t carry any other card that has your Social Security number on it.
Changes in Medicare Cards – Be Informed!