Posted: Jul. 9, 2017 12:01 am
Dear Savvy Senior,
I aloof accustomed my Medicare agenda in the mail and was afraid to see that the ID cardinal is the aforementioned as my Social Security number. I apperceive it’s a bad abstraction to backpack about annihilation that displays my Social Security cardinal because it makes me accessible to character theft. Wasn’t the government declared to stop putting Social Security numbers on Medicare cards?
Many bodies new to Medicare are afraid to apprentice that the ID cardinal on their Medicare agenda is still identical to their Social Security number.
After all, we’re consistently warned not to backpack our SSN about with us, because if it gets absent or stolen, the aftereffect could be character theft.
But the agenda itself tells beneficiaries to backpack it with you back you are abroad from home so you can appearance it at the doctor’s appointment or hospital back you charge medical care. Here’s what you should do to assure yourself.
New Medicare cards
For starters, you’ll be blessed to apperceive that the government is in the action of removing SSNs from Medicare cards, but with 58 actor beneficiaries, it’s a huge adventure that will be implemented gradually.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Casework will alpha sending the new cards in April 2018, but it will booty until December 2019 afore SSNs are removed from all cards.
Under the new system, a about generated 11-character Medicare Beneficiary Identifier will alter the SSN-based bloom affirmation cardinal on your new Medicare card, but your Medicare allowances will not change.
You will accept advice in 2018 absolution you apperceive about the new Medicare card, with an annual of how to use the new agenda and what to do with your old one.
You can alpha application your new Medicare agenda with the new cardinal as anon as you accept it, and there should be a alteration aeon in 2018 and 2019 back you can use either the old agenda or the new card.
Protect your identity
Until your new Medicare agenda is issued, here’s what you can do to assure your SSN on your accepted card. The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, a civic customer ability on character theft, recommends that you backpack your Medicare agenda alone back you appointment a bloom affliction provider for the aboriginal time, so the provider can accomplish a archetype for their files. Otherwise, accomplish a archetype of your agenda and cut it bottomward to wallet size. Then booty a atramentous brand and atramentous out the aftermost four digits of your SSN, and backpack that instead in case of an emergency.
If your Medicare agenda does appear to get absent or stolen, you can alter it by calling Social Security at 800-772-1213 or acquaintance your bounded Social Security office.
You can additionally appeal a agenda online at SSA.gov/MyAccount. Your agenda will access in the mail in about 30 days.
If your Medicare agenda that contains your SSN gets absent or stolen, you’ll charge to watch out for Medicare fraud.
You can do this by blockage your annual Medicare arbitrary notices for casework or food you did not receive. You can additionally analysis your Medicare claims aboriginal online at MyMedicare.gov (you’ll charge to actualize an annual first), or by calling Medicare at 800-633-4227.
If you atom annihilation apprehensive or wrong, alarm the Inspector General’s artifice hotline at 800-447-8477.
Also, watch for added signs of character theft. For example, if addition uses your Social Security cardinal to access credit, loans, blast accounts, or added appurtenances and services, address it anon to the Federal Trade Commission at IdentityTheft.gov (or 877-438-4338). This armpit will additionally accord you specific accomplish you’ll charge to booty to handle this problem.
Send your chief questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or appointment SavvySenior.org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today appearance and columnist of “The Savvy Senior” book.
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