Medicare officials say they have delayed mailing out the new Medicare identification cards to current beneficiaries because they are stepping up their anti-fraud initiatives.
According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), beneficiaries living in Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia will begin receiving their new Medicare ID cards in May, not April, as originally scheduled.
“We are working on making our processes even better by using the highest levels of fraud protection when we mail new cards to current Medicare beneficiaries,” the CMS notes.
The CMS also announced that new enrollees in Medicare will automatically get the revamped cards, regardless of where they live.
Earlier this year, the CMS released a rollout schedule for the replacement card, which Congress ordered redesigned to prevent fraud. The rest of the schedule remains the same.
The new Medicare card is still red, white and blue, but no longer includes a Social Security number, gender, signature or other personal information that could compromise a beneficiary’s identity. The cards have a randomly assigned 11-character number that has no connection to a beneficiary’s other personal data. Medicare has until December 2019 to distribute the restyled cards.
If you are a current beneficiary, you should make sure the Social Security Administration (SSA) has your correct address. To make a change, you can contact the agency at ssa.gov/myaccount or by calling 800-772-1213.
Beneficiaries can also sign up for an email alert on Medicare’s new card page about when their card is in the mail.
Scammers have already targeted recipients with various ploys about the cards, such as calling beneficiaries and requesting payment for the replacement card. CMS officials say they will never ask a beneficiary for personal or private information or for any money as a condition of getting a new Medicare number and card.
For more tips and advice on avoiding frauds and scams, go to AARP’s Fraud Watch Network.