Effective April 2018: what you need to know and how to prevent scams
Starting in April 2018, the government will start sending out new Medicare cards, launching a massive, yearlong effort to alter 59 million people’s cards. Your benefits stay the same, the only thing that changes is your number! Historically, Medicare cards have had the Social Security number as the ID number — But that’s been problematic because that data is so precious (and leaves us open for scammers)!
For years, scammers have preyed on older adults by requesting their Medicare numbers, giving various reasons for doing so. People who fall for these ruses have found bank accounts emptied, Social Security payments diverted or bills in their mailboxes for medical services or equipment never received.
The new cards address these concerns by removing each member’s Social Security number and replacing it with a new, randomly generated 11-digit “Medicare number” (some capital letters are included). This will be used to verify eligibility for services and for billing purposes going forward. Such a major change can involve bumps along the way, so there will be a transition period during which you can use either your new Medicare card or your old card at doctors’ offices and hospitals. If you are a current HealthQuest Physical Therapy patient and you have medicare, you should give one of our front office specialists your card upon recieving it, just to be sure. Both cards should work until Dec. 31, 2019, but no one is certain.
Cards will be sent to people covered by Medicare on a rolling basis over a 12-month period ending in April 2019. It looks like Michigan is going to be the last wave to receive new cards. Alaska, California, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia will be the first to receive the mailings, between April and June, along with several U.S. territories — American Samoa, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands. The last wave of states will be Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio and Tennessee, along with Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
Be in the know about the current Medicare telephone scams!